To borrow a line from Comedy Tonight, the infectiously upbeat opening number of Face the Music 2020, there really was ‘something for everyone’ on Friday 24 January. Rarely do The Wizard of Oz’s Cowardly Lion and the Little Shop of Horrors’ dreadful dentist share a stage with Annie and her fellow orphans, as well as Fantine, Eponine and Cosette from Les Misérables, but on Friday they did, and it worked wonderfully! That’s not to mention the many other characters inhabited by a cast of almost 50 who sang, danced and acted by turn humorously, sassily or with pathos, as the role demanded, and always splendidly. Splendid too were the cameos by Director of Drama Stacey Williams (yes, it really was her in the dentist’s chair) and Assistant Director of Drama Emma Love, who amused and terrified the audience (and Annie and her friends) as the ghastly Miss Hannigan.
Ever present was the fabulous band, comprising students, staff and guest musicians, led by Director of Music John Hargreaves. They may have been at the back of the stage, but they were also stars of the show, switching genres with accomplished ease. Harder still to spot, for good reason, were the students playing crucial roles as stage hands, lighting and sound assistants, without whom the show, quite literally, could not go on.
The breadth and depth of talent on show was phenomenal – bravo to everyone involved. Though what we’d really like to say is, ‘Encore!’