Making Waves: A Song Cycle

★★★★

Review By H. Hemming

 

Making Waves: A Song Cycle is a lovely meander through the trials and tribulations of life, love, and human interaction. Written by Daniel Cartwright and Tom Brassington, this revival by Hidden Theatre Company is neatly rehearsed and showcases a relatable mix of thoughts and emotions.

The usual parts of life are there, the wishing for a man, the struggles of a break up, never quite getting the girl… then there’s the more unusual. What is it like to be a redhead, for example? And is the ‘friend zone’ really a good thing?

With an overall theme of love and how even the mundane things in life can be special, the cast of eight, plus wonderful pianist (composer of the show, Cartwright) really have put together a beautiful production.

Background

The Hidden Theatre Company was formed by Abby Restall and Drou Constantinou with an aim to showcasing new talent and new work. The two girls themselves both feature in this show, and deservedly so, there is no weird feeling of ‘they just cast themselves because they could.’

Constantinou has a great vocal range and brings some great sass to her songs. Restall has a beautiful soprano voice, and provoked tears with her rendition of ‘Fooling Myself,’ – a song about one of the harder parts of being human.

Anna-Kate Golding has the most comedic role of the girls, and is very good at it. After her initial rendition of ‘Mirror Mirror,’ where she wishes for a Disney-esque boyfriend dream to come true, she appears throughout the show as a waitress in whatever café the characters seemingly keep appearing.

It is in this café that Michael Dahl Rasmussen regales her with ‘I Can’t Write Love Songs,’ a very funny number for which he ‘borrows’ the piano off Cartwright. Although there are comedic moments throughout the show, this song brings a different energy with it, and Rasmussen has excellent musical ability.

Effortless

Emma Brown has a lovely stage presence, and a gorgeous, clear voice. She is effortless in her technique and in her acting, making the audience empathise for her without asking them to.
Christopher Burgess, who takes on a narrator type role, is the one who likes people watching and sees the best in everyone and every situation – even the friend-zone, and a great duet with Rasmussen demonstrates this idea. It is Burgess who helps the audience to focus on the everyday aspects of life that are highlighted here, whether big or small, and how they can be thought of differently.

Other cast members include Taylor Rettke and Jordan Scott Turner, both demonstrating a great vocal range and with strong performances, but seemingly needing a little more confidence in themselves.

Both performers are very good at the romantic characters, with Turner demonstrating real heartache in his eyes and rock in his voice; he is reminiscent of the character Roger in Jonathan Larson’s RENT. Rettke covers a diverse range between romantic, heartbroken and increasingly frustrated about being ginger. He captures them all well – each characterisation has a unique and grounded air to it.

All in all, with its minimal set yet defined locations, and its interlinked characters yet not linear storyline, this is a very clever and wonderfully staged production. Reading an interview with Constantinou and Restall, it is evident that the original show had a much bigger cast, but it definitely works with a small one. It’s just everyday people going about their everyday lives, and they each have traits and emotions that are recognisable in all of us.

Gone – but great work never dies…..

It’s a shame that this review was written on the last night of its short run, but Making Waves will surely be making an appearance again somewhere soon. For now, attention must be turned to The Hidden Theatre Company themselves, and the wonderful work and opportunities they provide.

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