GLITTER ball, stars and stripes, sequinned jackets, bowler hats, backwards chairs – it’s ‘musicals night’ at the Loft with a bumper helping of songs from the fertile pens of John Kander and Fred Ebb.
Unencumbered by anything but the music itself – no characters or plot at all – it’s a feast of showstoppers, comedy numbers and the odd poignant reflection.
The music is in the hands of a company of five – Martha Allen-Smith, Kim Arnold, Chris Gilbey-Smith, Ben Munday and Val Whitlock – backed by a crisp live band of seven.
All the singers get the chance to take the lead and there are some fine performances from everyone. Perhaps though it’s the duets and company numbers which grab the attention.
The staging is understandably glitzy, plenty of follow spots and bright lights. The choreography of Hannah Hampson helps add a welcome sauce of movement and humour to the underlying diet of song after song.
When serving up a diet of quite so many musical numbers it’s possible to become lost as generosity edges dangerously into gluttony. It’s hard to pick out highlights and probably not necessary when the standard is good throughout.
We get songs about cakes, big numbers on roller skates, recognisable moments from Chicago and plenty of similarly-crafted gems admittedly not as well-remembered by time.
This exhaustive retrospective of Kander and Ebb’s vast back catalogue looks truly exhausting for all taking part but, in the true style of musical theatre, the grins never fade, the high kicks keep kicking and the arms still go up at the end of every number. Nobody could fault the quantity not the effort.