The Prickle (@ThePrickle) October 13, 2019
For a cast of forty-two volunteers to successfully mount this epic Broadway musical is absolutely remarkable. Unpaid the actors may be, but this is not “amdram”. Unlike James Cameron’s 1997 movie, the five-time Tony award-winning show doesn’t have a main character; just dozens and dozens of well-researched, real-life characters. Having a gigantic cast of usually unattainable number really helps the story-telling, and the choral ensemble numbers raise the roof.
As might be expected, not everyone in the cast is up to professional level, but a few really stand out. Tshegofatso Mhlongo as plucky wannabe ladies’ maid Kate McGowan sings so soulfully, and breathes new life into the score. Andrew Swift (also musical director) lets rip with a powerful vocal in the engineer’s final soliloquy to madness, as the ship sinks.
A giant, white, rotating structure depicts the White Star Line ship, and director Candice Caalsen puts characters all over the auditorium, walking through the audience, sending Morse code and ringing bells over our head. Caalsen also brings out the comedy of the script — the Major (Adam Harris) is absolutely hilarious — which of course makes the ensuing tragedy all the more palpable.
The score — accompanied a good quality, customisable karaoke backing track — is taken a little too slow, and frequent pauses between spoken lines also brings the energy down, despite the hard-working cast bringing so much to the table. The sheer hubris of putting on a show like this is surely matched only by making Titanic herself; but, judging by the explosive audience response this is one ship that won’t sink.
Playing 11-13 October 2019.