Event Review: Cabaret 2017

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The dying days of November saw Bede’s Sports Complex once again transformed for Cabaret, the School’s annual blue-chip event.

As always, this year’s concerts offered evenings of glitz, glamour, music and dance, accompanied by black tie fine dining, although for the first time Cabaret ran across three nights in 2017 – and to add an extra touch of quality the Multi-Purpose Hall was even carpeted for the occasion!

Hosted by siblings Ben and Adelaide Barden, ably accompanied by the bandy-limbed Luke Noble, the shows got off to a high-tempo start each night. This first wonderful arrangement of the 1984 Bonnie Tyler hit ‘I Need a Hero’ was sung by The Company, accompanied by a highly amusing super-hero themed dance from Bede’s Legat performers.

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After the full orchestra took to the stage for the Pink Panther theme, it was time to slow things down for Archie Taylor’s sensitive performance of Debussy’s ‘La Fille Aux Cheveux De Lin,’ which was movingly accompanied by dancers Georgia Myers and Sam Avery.

Next Lily Potter took to the stage to perform the Judy Garland classic “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, accompanied by Marie Boyer and Jan Apolin. Following the ensuing and rousing rendition of Strauss’ ‘Radestsky March,’ an atmospheric throwback to the 1940s Vienna, the audience settled themselves for Will Hopkins’ much-anticipated performance of ‘Cry Me a River.’

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Last year, as an intrepid First Year, Will launched himself on the Cabaret scene with a delightful performance of ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside,’ holding his own quite magnificently alongside Sixth Form pros. This year, Will took on another jazz classic and crooned his way through this silky song, taking on its rousing crescendo with seeming effortlessness.

Next up was a sophisticated performance by Ruby Moody, accompanied by the Bede’s Jazz Band, of the 1930s number ‘Sunny Side of the Street.’ This Louis Armstrong standard, directed on this occasion by Roy Hilton, was the perfect vehicle to display Ruby’s dual talents as a vocalist and cellist.

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The final recital before the first interval was a tour-de-force care of the Legat dancers. With choreography by Bede’s Director of Legat Lee Smikle, the children delivered a truly stunning feat, performing a contemporary dance take on ‘Cinderella’ that wowed all in attendance.

Concert 2 then began with a swirling maelstrom of melancholy voices as the cast of Bede’s upcoming production of Oliver performed ‘Who Will Buy’. Offering a taster of what is to come during the show’s upcoming run at the Devonshire Park Theatre, those present could only have been inspired to purchase their tickets then and there!

The toe-tapping ‘Mister Sandman’ followed, care of Rosa Marks, Meghan Longden and Zeeton Feng who offered a blast of rosy 1950s doo-wop, before the Bede’s Barbershop made their debut performance with a rousing rendition of Leonard Cohen’s iconic ballad ‘Hallelujah.’

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Next, the Cabaret Singers took to the stage to perform Simon and Garfunkel’s iconic tune ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water,’ only the Bede’s take saw the song transformed into a robust and forceful power-ballad! The brass section then flexed their muscles with smile-inducing renditions of the jazz band numbers ‘Theme from Peter Gunn’ and the Saint Louis Blues.

Following this, veteran Upper Sixth performer Rosa Witts took total ownership of the stage with her fun and characterful performance of ‘The Lady Is A Tramp.’ With a wry nod and a smile, Rosa once again charmed us all, and it is hard to imagine future Cabaret performances without her.

The audience barely had a minute to catch their breath before another stunning blow from a musical one-two punch; a hazy, choral, almost mournful performance of The Beatles ‘Let It Be’ was a knockout care of the extraordinary Lili Longden and the returning Will Hopkins.

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A moving dance by Matthew Amos, Eliane Boyer and Sofia Covarrubias then offered a moment’s contrast, backed by Ksenia Reimchen’s haunting performance of ‘Sarabande And Gigue From Suite In G’ by JS Bach, before the Lower Sixth BTEC band then offered a riotous performance of Dolly Parton’s loveable feminist anthem ‘9 to 5’.

Next, the singular Khaya Burke revived her alarmingly good rendition of Whitney Houston’s ‘I Will Always Love You’ from House Music. Once again, she hit every high note with verve and style, eliciting goose bumps and woops of admiration and appreciation from the enraptured crowd.

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To cap this portion of the performance off, the Legat dancers once again filed into the auditorium, this time wrapped in dayglow exercise gear. As they engaged in aerobic one-upmanship, the Jazz Choir belted out “I Can Do Anything Better Than You Can” – a song which felt highly appropriate considering the occasion.

Concert 3 then kicked things into an even higher gear, with the Lower Sixth BTEC Band performing ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’ getting everyone in the mood for dance.

With seats emptying, and pupils, parents and teachers letting their hair down, the Jazz Band were accompanied variously by the trio of Imogen Lock, Georgia Myers and Grace Stannard, the Cabaret Singers, and the all-male quartet of Matthew Grant, Jacob Leibenberg, Oliver Prosper and Thomas Adams.

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Their numbers, ‘It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing’, The Jackson 5’s ‘ABC’, and ‘I Wish’ raised the roof, and a wide array of grins when everyone leapt to the dance floor.

To conclude the evening, the Jazz Band performed ‘Song For My Father’ and ‘The Chattanooga Choo Choo’ before Naemi Marques Sindlinger gave a blistering performance of Otis Redding’s ‘Respect.’ This led into a final, all-encompassing singalong: ‘River Deep Mountain High,’ which saw the Jazz Band and Jazz Choir on thunderingly fine form.

With yet another year of Cabaret now over, the sound of these songs, and the sight of Bede’s pupils performing at a professional standard cannot fail but live on in the memory. An early Christmas present for all who attended, if you missed out then be sure to register your interest in next year’s concert nice and early!

 

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