Hats off to the Musical Theatre Society for a terrific production of Urinetown at the Marlowe Theatre Studio in Canterbury this weekend; a hard-working ensemble were led by a strong cast, delivering an energy-filled and very physical performance, with some wonderful comic touches and some genuinely touching moments.
Soprano Francesca Charlton had great charm and vocal presence as Hope Cladwell, whilst Charlie Hunt was outstanding as a deliciously villainous Caldwell B Cladwell; Matt Cooke was a delight as Bobby Strong, ranging from rabble-rouser to vulnerable with great skill, whilst Charley Tench dominated the stage as Miss Pennywise – she brought a hugely expressive face to the production, striding around like a colossus whenever she was present. Philip Hunt was an engaging narrator in the role of Officer Lockstock, whilst Anna Reith played Little Sally with beguiling charm, the fulcrum character representing the meeting-point between the downtrodden citizenry and the money-grabbing powers of the upper world. And a tip of the hat to Daniel Hemming, who played several roles (including Pop Strong) and was a scene-stealer throughout the performance, with comic timing and a devilish sense of mischief that was a delight to behold.
Directors Ben Chamberlain and Sarah Butt demonstrated a great eye for tableaux and some fabulous ensemble pieces, and the set design and costumes showed real inventive flair; there were occasional salient nods to the current political climate too, plenty of in-character interaction with the audience both before the performance began and during the interval, which brought us closer to the production, and a few in-jokes to appeal to the local crowd.
Supported by a tight-knit and musically agile pit band under the baton of Jack Gray, this was a top-notch production greeted rightly with terrific applause from a packed house; bravo to everyone involved!
Main images courtesy of the Musical Theatre Society
Stand by for the energetic trailer from the Musical Theatre Society for Urinetown, as the Society returns to the Marlowe Studio in style next week.
Originally opening in 2001, the original show parodies such august musicals as Les Miserables and We Will Rock You, and was inspired by a pay-per-use toilet, going on to win three Tony awards (the show, not the toilet…).
The production at the Marlowe Studio takes place on Friday 3rd February at 8pm, and on Saturday 4th February with a matinee at 3pm and evening performance at 8pm.
With an heraldic fanfare, we’re delighted to say that our new What’s On season is now available to view online, with a mouth-watering programme of events to see you through to July.
As usual, we’ve performances in the majestic surroundings of Canterbury Cathedral with the Chorus and Symphony Orchestra in Tchaikovsky and Puccini for the annual Colyer-Fergusson concert, and the Chamber Choir and Ensemble will fill the Crypt with Fauré’s evocative Requiem in a new chamber edition. The Concert and Big Bands return in March with a dazzling evening of concert band classics and big band swing, and the Musical Theatre Society is back in action too. CantiaQuorum brings its usual eclectic and innovative approach to programming with a new series of concerts, and our popular Lunchtime Concert series ranges from the shores of Scotland to the heady sensuality of Argentinian tango.
A new collaboration with the School of Biosciences forms the backdrop to a concert bringing together live music with beautiful images from its cutting-edge research, which will also be exhibiting in the Colyer-Fergusson gallery throughout the spring term; and there’s a look ahead to warmer weather and seaside pleasures with events to come during our annual Summer Music Week festival in June.
Take a look at all these events and more on our online page here, and download the new season brochure here. We look forward to welcoming you through the doors of Colyer-Fergusson and to our performances elsewhere over the coming months!
The University’s Musical Theatre Society returns to Colyer-Fergusson next week, with an epic showcase full of songs which explore the struggle between our need to be part of the pack and yet also to follow our dreams.
Follow The Leader is a collection of powerful and revealing songs that prove that the quest for power may not always run the safest path, explored in music from Hamilton, Kinky Boots, Chicago, RENT and others.
The cast have been hard at work in rehearsals over the course of the term, and the directors of the showcase, Antonia Kasoulidou and Rakel Svendsen, declare that the show promises to be an inspiring, ingenious and intoxicating piece which explores the conflict between the deep desire to follow the herd, and the yearning to break with tradition and risk becoming an outcast.
Find out if you have the herd instinct or are prepared to take risks on forging a new path, as Follow The Leader comes to Colyer-Fergusson Hall on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 December at 7.30pm; tickets available here.
Our Autumn What’s On is now out, and is bursting with events throughout October to December here in Colyer-Fergusson.
Our termly Lunchtime Concert series launches with percussion ensemble Kopanya in October; the acclaimed musicians of the Kentish Piano Trio bring Beethoven’s ‘Ghost’ Trio in November; and eminent sitar-player Ustad Dharambir Singh is joined by Pt Sanju Sahai on tabla for a recital in December,
The University Chorus and Symphony Orchestra will be rounding-off the Shakespeare 400 anniversary in style with a concert including the suite from Walton’s famous film score for Henry V, and the Musical Theatre Society will present their ever-popular showcase. The season ends in rousingly festive style with the Big Band’s Christmas Swing-Along.
Whatever you do, make sure you have Friday 25 November inked firmly in your diary for what promises to be a memorable concert, as internationally-renowned bass, Sir Willard White, joins forces with the Brodsky Quartet to pay tribute to the relationship between Frank Sinatra and the Hollywood String Quartet; the evening will also include folksongs by Britten and Copland, Barber’s evocative Dover Beach, a selection from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, the Great American Song Book …and much more. Early booking is most definitely advisable! As ever, we also welcome the many visiting musicians to Colyer-Fergusson, including events promoted by both the Canterbury Festival and Sounds New and a birthday concert for Trevor Pinnock.
You can find out more about all these events online here, or download the new brochure here. We look forward to welcoming you to Colyer-Fergusson this season!
The final two days of Summer Music Week witnessed a tremendous flurry of musical activity both in Colyer-Fergusson and beyond, as the week-long music festival celebrating the end of the University year brought staff, students, guests, alumni and members of the local community together.
An intense forty-eight hours of rehearsing and performing began on Friday at lunchtime, with members of the Musical Theatre Society performing on the foyer-stage.
Later the same day, the Cecilian Choir, Sinfonia and soloists filled the church of St Michael and All Angels at Harbledown with a feast of Baroque music, featuring choral works by Vivaldi, Handel and Lully, and instrumental concerti featuring oboists Jonathan Butten and Dan Lloyd from the School of Biosciences, violinists Lydia Cheng (Law) and Claudia Hill (Politics and International Relations), and arias from Charlotte Webb and Ruth Webster (Biosciences – again!). A sultry encore from the Sinfonia took a packed and delighted audience to Argentina for a scintillating rendition of Piazzolla’s Libertango to conclude. And as if they hadn’t done enough playing, members of the Sinfonia provided a little light music during the post-performance reception…
With the end in sight, rehearsals continued first thing on Saturday morning as the Chorus, Symphony Orchestra and Minerva Voices prepared for the final event of the week, the annual Music for a Summer’s Day. Arriving audience-members were treated to a performance by the unstoppably energetic String Sinfonia on the foyer-stage prior to the afternoon gala concert.
The combined forces brought a programme including a zestful medley from My Fair Lady, besuited butlers bearing drinks during music from Downton Abbey, rousing music by Elgar, a Norwegian ballad, final-year Harriet Gunstone as guest soloist in the Champagne Polka, all culminating in a rousing rendition of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ (including an encore conducted by third-year Cory Adams making a rare sortie from the percussion section to the front of the orchestra), and the shedding of a few tears as we all realised that this was, for those who are graduating, their final performance at the University.
The reception afterwards saw performers, audience, family and friends mingling in the marquee, as well as the presentation of the Music Society Awards – a spirited tongue-in-cheek affair with prizes for ‘Most Likely To Be Seen On A Night Out’ and ‘Best Dressed’ among the commendations – and the raiding of sumptuous racks of cakes and scones, as the week drew to a close, whilst Minerva Voices and a jazz group provided some spontaneous musical entertainment.
Summer Music Week higlights all that making music at the University embraces: students making extra-curricular music and friends during the year; students, staff, alumni and the local community coming together on a weekly basis to work together towards termly public performances; the recognition that music-making holds a valuable place in University life in terms of making friends, developing performing and organisational skills, bringing the community together to work towards a public-facing event that represents the University in ambassadorial fashion. Where else might you find a senior Registrar, the director of the Development Office, the head of the International Office, a first-year from Blackpool reading Drama, a second-year from Malaysia reading Law, violinists from Toronto and Zimbabwe, a Senior Lecturer in Linguistics, and local residents combining to let their hair down ?! It’s a terrific whirlygig, a snapshot of all the creativity that thrives both on- and off-campus throughout the course of the year, but it’s also a sad time, as we bid farewell to many who have become a vital part both of the Music department and the wider University during their time at Kent.
To all the leavers, we wish you the very best for the future in Life After Kent; to all those returning (or indeed joining!) us in September; rest assured, we’re now planning for another vibrant, action-packed, stressfull (!), creative, and ultimately rewarding year. To those moving on: we’ll miss you.
The University of Kent’s Musical Theatre Society is back in action this weekend, celebrating theatre’s most iconic duets with songs from shows such as Wicked, Les Miserables and Mamma Mia in ‘Do A Little Duet With Me’ in Colyer-Fergusson Hall.
A strong cast features some talented performers in well-known musical twosomes. Showtimes are Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 December at 7.30pm; student tickets are a mere snip at £5, available online here; come along and enjoy a trip back in time, and see their teaser-trailers over on Facebook here.
The termly Lunchtime Concert Series opens next month with a recital of Baroque recorder music by Naomi Okuda Wooderson, and a musical aperitif from our ensemble-in-residence, CantiaQuorum, of music by Saint-Saens, Stravinsky and Torelli prior to their evening concert; we launch our December seasonal music with A Baroque Christmas, including movements from Handel’s Messiah and Vivaldi’s Winter from the Cecilian Choir, String Sinfonia and soloists; the Christmas theme continues with a rare performance of Vaughan Williams’ The First Nowell by the Chorus and Orchestra, together with works by Sibelius and Shostokovich, and the term is rounded out with the now-customary Christmas Swing-along from the Big Band. There’s also an antidote to wintry blues from Kasai Masai as they bring the infectious rhythms and melodies of Congolese music for the final Lunchtime Concert, and the Musical Theatre Society will be inviting you to ‘Do a Little Duet’ with them too.
We welcome a host of visiting ensembles and musicians to Colyer-Fergusson throughout the term, including Trevor Pinnock as he brings Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and there are two events as part of this year’s Canterbury Festival; find out about all these and more online here– printed brochures will be arriving around the start of the term. Find out what’s in store…
Because it does. Doesn't it ? Blogging about extra-curricular musical life at the University of Kent.