Reviewed by Sophie Ross
Wednesday 26th October
Reviewer rating: ★ ★ ★
The 25th anniversary revival of Moby Dick, hosted at the Union Theatre is an evening full of nothing but pure fun. As you enter the auditorium style space, you are greeted with gym benches and a strong feel of nostalgia as if you are back in school. Based upon Herman Melville’s timeless novel, this production takes a whole new spin on what can only be described as classic.
Set at St Godleys, the show is put on in the hopes of raising funds to save the school. With a welcome message from headmistress Dame Rhonda (played by Anton Stephans) it sets the light hearted tone of the piece with tonnes of audience interaction (be aware if you’re at the front).
The whole concept is outrageous but comical and works very well in such a small intimate space. The score, by Hereward Kaye and Robert Longden, is humerus and tells the story in a way that the new generation of theatre goers (younger crowd) can easily understand. Whilst watching the show, there is never a dull moment. With somersaulting students and a lot of on stage movement, there is always something to keep your eye on.
This overly high energy production can at times be a little exhausting to watch. However, Andrew Wright’s attention to detail from using standard school gym equipment to transform into a fully functioning set is pretty impressive. A few ropes, a paddling pool and a gym horse can be transformed into pretty much anything you can imagine. You can’t fault the talent from each and every performer whom each provided the audience with powerful vocals, passion and joy, however at times, it did feel a little forced (with all that running around and fast paced direction, you can’t blame them)
Brenda Edwards, plays the ultimate diva Esta, long lost love to Ahab. Although written out of the script quite early on, she pops up throughout the musical to express her outrage on the matter (although after the fifth time, maybe not so comical). Anton Stephans (Headmistress, Ahab) is the stand out performance of the show. He puts a lot of passion into the role and is the sole focus of the storyline. Completely broken away from his XFactor past, his vocal was impressive and all round he made it very enjoyable to watch.
This production is perfect if you’re looking for a unique but fun night out. You probably won’t learn to much more about the plot if you didn’t know much before but overall you will leave with a smile on your face.
Book tickets here: http://www.uniontheatre.biz/moby_dick.html
Images by Pamela Raith