It's a Kind of Magic that thrills with high-energy performances
PUBLISHED: 17:42 27 September 2010
The brainchild of young actress and dancer Larissa Webb, It's a Kind of Magic was a glorious compendium of well-known musical numbers, performed last week to enthusiastic audiences at the Bob Hope Theatre, writes Mark Campbell.
The brainchild of young actress and dancer Larissa Webb, It’s a Kind of Magic was a glorious compendium of well-known musical numbers, performed last week to enthusiastic audiences at the Bob Hope Theatre.
I arrived only just in time – parking at the Eltham venue was a problem, which is always a sign of a popular show – and already the packed audience was getting quite vocal in its anticipation of a good night out.
The songs selected for the evening came from a variety of famous musicals, from hard rock to 1960s rock’n’roll.
First off was Mamma Mia, featuring the music of Abba. Does Your Mother Know set the tone with a saucily choreographed number featuring several libidinous cougars making a play for their innocent toyboys.
This was followed by a medley of songs from the film Moulin Rouge. A bevy of black leather-corseted girls writhing to Rhythm of the Night certainly caught my attention (from a strictly artistic viewpoint naturally).
Rent followed, then a solitary number from the little-known Spring Awakening preceded an extended compilation of songs from the fabulous Take That musical Never Forget.
Could It Be Magic showcased the excellent costume designs by Jacky and Larissa Webb. Relight My Fire featured real (and somewhat scary) flames shooting into the air, while the Act I finale saw the whole ensemble belting out Never Forget in breathlessly energetic style.
Act 2 was a more subdued affair. Colour My World and Downtown from Priscilla: Queen of the Desert segued neatly into the 1960s vibe of the Four Seasons from Jersey Boys.
This was a very popular segment, perhaps appealing to older members of the audience. Walk Like a Man was particularly good.
Finally, the pulsing rock anthems of Queen closed the show in appropriately high-octane style. The medley from We Will Rock You, like Jersey Boys, included dialogue and linking scenes. This would be my only criticism; I felt this was unnecessary as it distracted from the music itself.
Bright, colourful lighting by Dan Mott and Stephen Britton complemented the stylish and witty choreography by (the multi-talented) Larissa Webb. The entrances and exits of the performers were quick and slick, with a hardworking backstage team being kept extremely busy with myriad costume changes throughout.
Richard Cooper’s unseen band delivered a thrilling live accompaniment and every member of the 47-strong ensemble was excellent. In a nutshell: energy, energy, energy!
● The current musical at the Bob Hope Theatre is Boogie Nights by Jon Conway, until Saturday, October 2. Tickets: 0208 850 3702