DISCO INFERNOBy Act II Theatre CompanySouth Holland Centre
Once again the girls and boys of Act II were thrown down a real challenge by director Karl Gernert – and once again they rose to the occasion.
Described in Karl’s programme notes as “close to a gig or party”, this was a musical where the music really did take the lead – although the plot was certainly compelling.
Set to a soundtrack of Seventies classics, Disco Inferno sees Jack (Zak Franklin) make a pact with Lady Marmalade (Niamh Mulley), an associate of the Devil.
Jack trades his soul to become an international rock star but loses everything he has along the way until he finally asks for redemption and his life is returned to normal.
Zak gives an assured performance as does on-stage girlfriend Tilly Hunns as Jane.
But my favourite actors on the night were Megan Jupp, who got the comic timing just right as Jack’s best mate Tom, and Niamh, who sparkled in the role of a femme fatale.
Beth Bailey also did well as bad boy rocker Heathcliffe and Maddie Arnold was convincing as his girlfriend Kathy.
But, as I said, this show was about the singing and, while the voice-altering curse of adolscence doesn’t exactly help a show like this, there were some stellar performances.
Lili Bergin and Brogan Gray combined for a nice version of Chicago’s ‘If You Leave Me Now’, and Libbi Wooding was brave to take on Elton John’s ‘Crocodile Rock’, but pulled it off.
Another ambitious cover was Seren Cave singing Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights – but once again she did really well.
But I thought the most assured singing came from Alex Gilman, with a cracking and confident performance of Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’.
Sophie Oldfield also drew much applause singing Elton John’s ‘Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word’, growing better and better as the confidence surged through her.
Harrison Hunns was assured throughout The Drifters’ classic ‘Kissing in the Back Row of the Movies’, Freya Theed got us all dancing in our seats with Donna Summer’s ‘Hot Stuff’ and Samantha Haines was superb singing Randy Crawford’s ‘Streetlife’.
I loved Lois Iddenden-Rhodes as Harold Wilson in Act II’s ‘Made in Dagenham’ musical last year and I was delighted to hear he can sing too, as he belted out Figaro from the balcony.
To be honest, this wasn’t my favourite Act II performance and I don’t think the young actors got into their roles as much as some of the previous shows, but there was still plenty to be proud of.