My biggest question as I arrived at the Teviot Debating Hall for the Edinburgh University Footlight’s Showchoir performance was: could this show could reach the same heights as last year’s wonderful performance by the same company?
The opening number, a full choir performance, served as a nice introduction to the night and, alongside the five-man group performance of ‘Some Kind of Time’, gave the audience a taste of what to expect. However it was the performance of ‘At the Ballet’, the third item, that was the first major highlight of the night. This heartbreaking rendition, performed by Eleanor Crowe, Ella Keating, and Nicola Frier, was the moment that I really bought into the show. This was one of a pair of songs performed by trios, the other being Georgina Carey, Simon Holm, and Tara Doherty-Eagles’ rendition of ‘The I Love You Song’, which both provided devastating counterpoints to some of the more light-hearted acts.
The first of these comedic numbers was the delightfully realised performance of ‘Agony’ by Jack Roberts and Ruairidh Nichols. This, despite providing Ruairidh the chance to remove as many clothes as possible (something that would become a theme for the night), was fantastically staged and the two performers brilliantly portrayed the absurd comedy of the song while maintaining excellent vocal performances.
There were a number of great individual performances, particularly from Meg Edwards (‘Gimme Gimme’) and Abi Stirling (‘As If We Never Said Goodbye’), who each produced astonishingly beautiful solos which demonstrated their abundant talent. The highlight of the show was undoubtedly the riotous boyband medley which displayed exactly what I wanted from Showchoir ‘Encore’. It was cheesy, self-aware, and extremely funny, whilst also wonderfully crafted to and illustrate the variety of the performers. This medley came in the midst of a brilliant set of pieces at the end of the show and it was a shame that it was only in these final five songs that the show really hit its straps, built momentum and engaged its audience. However the climax of the show, ending in a fantastically arranged rendition of the Elvis classic ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love With You’, underlined the brilliance that Showchoir is so clearly capable of.
Unfortunately, the show as a whole often failed to maintain momentum and keep its audience engaged. To a large degree this was due to the amount of time taken between songs which, all too often, dragged on and meant that the show failed to capitalise on the energy created by some of its best numbers. In addition to this a few of the pieces failed to have the desired impact as they seemed to lack conviction.
At its best, this performance illustrated the really high level of talent that this company have at their disposal. Although this performance did not feel as polished, or as well crafted, as last year’s equivalent, it was still a fun and extremely enjoyable show. It was well choreographed and arranged throughout and was punctuated by a number of phenomenal performances by both individuals and groups.
A show with some fantastic moments that needed just a little extra polish.
Run ended: 9th and 10th March 2018
Teviot Row House
Image: Eric Chen