This evening I watched Footlights Youth Theatre perform Footlights Showstoppers, a musical compilation show full of modern musical pieces performed by an incredibly able and enthusiastic cast who vary from ages 7-18.
There are no ‘costumes’ in the show but each cast member is dressed in black with a hint of red. This simple yet effective idea worked well but perhaps more than one colour may have added a little something extra. The evening was focused on singing although the cast proved, with the final number of ‘You Can’t Stop The beat’ that they could have easily coped with more choreography.
Director Louise Hodson and Assistant Marie Cairns have created a fabulous show. Louise notes in the programme that the cast have chosen some of the musical numbers themselves, which has proved to be a positive thought process; when a cast enjoys performing, the audience enjoy watching!
With Musical Direction from Nigel Finch, Footlights deliver some wonderful harmonies. The use of well-balanced backing tracks was perfect, Nigel has made full use of this talented cast.
The order of the songs works well, with a good mix of solos, duets, trios and ensemble songs. It would have been lovely to see more full-cast numbers, such as the opening ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’, as Footlights clearly enjoy sharing the stage together. Some solos seemed a little ‘static’ in Act 1 with performers sticking to one space on the stage but this was not the case in Act 2.
Amy Longland’s ‘Let’s Play A Love Scene’ was wonderful to hear. A fabulous singing voice and she makes every song her own. She showed some nerves but had no need to be nervous!
Molly Sykes’ ‘Don’t Forget Me’ was breath-taking. A truly natural performer, she oozed talent at just 17. She had wonderful facial expressions, showing us she meant every word she sang. Her high note in ‘Seasons Of Love’ was sung with perfect clarity.
Marth Taylor’s ‘She Used To Be Mine’ was superb, as was Cerys Burnsides’ ‘Just Around The Corner’, which was a breath of fresh air and showed great use of the stage. Both are a delight to watch.
Oliver Ingoe performed ‘Stars’ with a true musical-theatre voice and excellently portrays each character he takes on.
Two numbers to note from the younger cast are George Hill’s ‘Electricity’, a confident and note perfect performance, a future star for sure, and Xander Amin-Edwards’ solo in ‘Bad Guys’, a joy to hear.
‘Ex-Wives’ showcased true sassiness and ‘A Musical’ gave the audience a fab time with effective choreography and ironic lyrics!
The younger members of the cast held their own on stage. Notably ‘It’s A Hard Knock Life’ – simple yet effective choreography and younger female cast performed this with aplomb!
With no set, the show relies on lighting and props to set the scene. The stage was perhaps slightly dark during Act 1 but Act 2 was brighter and with more upbeat numbers, the lighting matched perfectly with great use of colour. Fab staging for the ‘Book Of Mormon’ numbers with the use of simple stage blocks and lighting to compliment. A pleasing mix of voice and music meant every word was heard and the use of prop guns in ‘Bad Guys’ made for a fun effect. I enjoyed the mix of hand-held microphones and headsets, which was seamless.
The cast are disciplined and know their entrances, exits and cues, a credit to their Production team! It was disappointing to see a small audience; a talented bunch like this deserve to be seen.
Footlights Showstoppers runs until 7 March at The Point, Eastleigh.