I was working late at Hurtwood one night, when my eyes beheld an eerie sight. It was a balmy Tuesday evening, the humidity casting a gloomy pallor over the landscape. The air of eccentricity, indeed the mist itself, finds its focal point in the theatre, decked out tonight in Gothic mise-en-scene, complete with graveyard, ruined buildings and battered candelabra hanging from the ceiling. The flyer warns, ‘Join us – if you dare!’ It must be the latest Hurtwood Musical Theatre Showcase, ‘Monster Mash’.
The mood of mystery and suspense is intensified by the heat – ‘You thought it was hot now, wait until we turn on 2,000 lights’, quips co-director extraordinaire Doug. The performance gets off to a flying start, with a fantastic entrance from James' cobweb-strewn compare. The confidence of the ensemble soon shines through, aided in no small part by some extraordinary choreography from Neil, and some fantastic singing voices. Kendra, Shanice, Liv, Tom and Georgia all stand out, indeed, everyone gives a rousing performance. The ghouls, ghosts and all-American rednecks move fluently and confidently across the stage. A crowd of mummies and madmen bursts into a frenetic whole-cast number. And all of this action is set to a high-energy mashup of spooky numbers from different musicals. The cast switches from the silly to the sincere and never lets up for a second. Elizabeth's costumes, which are bang on the money every time, make these transitions shine. Tom, as a rather forlorn vampire, jumps and twirls while singing songs of love and loss, before leading us into a blood-spattered rendition of the dentist’s song from ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ – watch where you’re putting that axe, Taine…
The blend of music, movement and monstrosity reaches its peak with a rousing rendition of ‘The Time Warp’, wherein even the most reluctant audience member ends up dancing on their feet. A triumphant finish to a blistering 50 minutes of song, dance, music and pyrotechnics. It’s a smash!
Shanice Alexandre Oezbicer | Kimani Arthur | Jess Edkins-O’Brien | Tom Emery | Elena Falkow | James Gaffney | Liv Jenkins | Nate Leung | Georgia Maclennan | Kenda McBride | Amelia Swaby | Bex Turnbull
Taine Ashworth | Dela Atacag Oke | Phoebe Burdett | Anna Cliff | Amber Dale | Eliska Douglas | Sian Gibson | Harrison Phillips | Lara Pratt | Martine Scott | Holly Sinclair | Gwen Subuh-Symons | Lara Williams