Review: Makin’ Steps “To The Movies”
THE creative minds behind the public performances of Makin’ Steps seldom fail to impress and “To The Movies” was no exception. Just for starters, the opening bars of the theme to “Jaws” accompanied by a menacing shark’s fin took us through a compilation of over twenty movies played out in silhouette on the company’s ‘Big Screen’ before Abbie Middleton Evans and Charlotte and Janine Rudin took us into the Little Shop of Horrors. There we had our first encounter with Reece Harper, playing the nerdy Seymour. This impressive young man is growing in confidence, ably demonstrated in his contributions to both musical theatre and dance numbers.
Twelve months ago when reviewing “iTimeTravel” I suggested that the company’s “backing-singers” could have been more visible and sure enough that was noted and the huge range and versatility of voices were used to tremendous effect. What was also interesting was the increase in the number of credible and capable male performers, both dancers and singers, like Danny Evans who came to the fore in the “Purple Rain” Prince Tribute.
There were frequent reminders of the full range of training the students are engaged in at Makin’ Steps – musical theatre and singing, jazz and street dance, ballet and tap dancing and although I’m becoming more familiar with some of the terminology – step, shuffle, ball-change – I don’t think I will ever stop marvelling at how you can move seamlessly from having 20 under-eight-year-old penguins with very Happy Feet to the foot-tapping, hand-clapping, “step in time” world of Mary Poppins that brought the first half of the show to a close.
Ross Simpson’s choreography in numbers like “Romeo Must Die” suggested that these young performers are terrifyingly streetwise, whilst elsewhere the sensitive “en pointe” direction of Lana Williams hinted that they are just as much in command of their minds as their bodies. In fact, it was much of the work of Miss Lana that showcased, not only the talent of the here and now, but the promise of the future.
Brooke Turnstill and Abbie Middleton Evans are rapidly becoming the Makin’ Steps headline acts: when Brooke sang the words “I don’t want to hurt anymore” from “The Bodyguard” you really felt she meant it and Abbie’s rendition of “On My Own from “Les Mis” was of West End standard. However there are others honing their skills and beginning to flourish who will soon be snapping at their heels.
The pièce de résistance however came in an extraordinary pre-recorded video montage of 11 of the company’s singers performing acapella themes from Star Wars. Technically flawless, vocally stunning, very, very funny, this feat of theatrical engineering from Ross Simpson was phenomenal. I suggested on the way home, that if loaded onto You Tube it would get loads of hits. “No”, my seven-year-old daughter informed me “you mean it will go viral!” I stand corrected. Well done Margaret Wright and all at Makin’ Steps.
Ian Beckett-June 2016
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