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Review: HATS – The Show Will Go On AGAIN

Entertainment / Tue 28th Feb 2023 at 11:31am

HATS returned to Theatre 2 at The Playhouse with their latest musicals compilation show. It proved to be an eclectic mix of songs from musicals old and new giving the performers an opportunity to demonstrate a wide range of vocal styles from the classics of My Fair Lady and Mary Poppins through to School of Rock and the demanding rap of Hamilton.

The opening number got off to a faltering start due to a technical issue with the sound. I wouldn’t normally mention this but it is noteworthy due to the way in which Mitchell Walsh handled the situation.

Left standing in a solo spotlight waiting for his music for what must have felt like an eternity would have unsettled many a seasoned performer but Mitch, face hidden by his bowler hat, shrugged his shoulders and barely contained his giggling.

This put an anxious audience at ease and soon had them laughing too ensuring riotous applause when things eventually got underway. From that moment on he owned the stage for this and every other appearance during the evening. HATS off to Mitch!

It’s impossible to mention every one of the 33 songs and their performers but a few made a particular impact on this reviewer. 

‘Hammer to Fall’ was a powerfully delivered rock duet, ‘Step in Time’ a fabulous and familiar crowd pleaser, the gender swapped ‘Sisters’ a funny and slightly bizarre delight, ‘Breathe’ was beautifully controlled and touchingly delivered, ‘Can’t help falling in love’ a dreamy ensemble of well blended harmonies.

And who knew a hand tentatively emerging from a wheelie bin in ‘Come out of the Dumpster’ could be a such scene stealer? 

The understated facial expressions of Joshua Smith as the unwilling patient in ‘You’ll be a Dentist’ were a comic delight.

Standout moments of the night for me were ‘Priest’ from Sweeney Todd and ‘Me and the Sky’ from Come From Away.

Will Jansen gave a wonderfully observed performance as Sweeney, switching from menacing melancholy to amusingly sinister in a heartbeat, a fabulous counterpoint to the disturbingly nonchalant attitude to humans as pie fillings shown by Sara Randall’s performance as Mrs Lovett.

Sara also gave us, in her performance of ‘Me and the Sky, a masterclass in less is more. Holding the audience in the palm of her hand she delivered this song simply seated at a table. It was glorious.

All in all, a very enjoyable evening of good musicality and energetic choreography that entertained a very enthusiastic audience.

In a show with many hits and just a couple of misses HATS have shown they are a company with a desire to challenge themselves and that is to be applauded and encouraged. I look forward to the show continuing to go on, AGAIN!

James Griggs

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