From rehearsal room to stage with a remarkable turnaround, this show nonetheless impressedHarsh Prasad/ James Daly

The main job of Cambridge students is arguably pretending that they have a clue about what is going on, be it supervisions, lectures – or a musical written and prepared in only 24 hours. The 24 Hour Musical combined a whole lot of silliness with huge amounts of talent and, one must assume, a level of sleep deprivation that is only slightly beyond the student norm. The premise was simple; write, compose and prepare a show – this year with the theme ‘Get me out of here’ – in 24 hours. That they did. And did well.

There is no doubt that CUMTS has boundless talent, but there was something immensely charming about the roughness of this production, from the oh-so-meta opening number, to Thomas Moy who had his words written on his palm, to members of the band creeping on and off the stage. Despite the roughness and readiness of the production, you couldn’t help but be impressed at the fact it existed at all. Indeed, that is probably what made it work as a show.

The 24 Hour Musical was self-aware enough about its inadequacies: the opening number – thematically titled ‘Get Me Out of Here’ – began with a classic ‘everyone shuffles onstage in blackout’, and within seconds the entire cast is trotting around in a circle bemoaning how “fucking awful” the show was. Simply put, it was really quite funny. Credit must go to Composer Geraint Owen and Lyricist Will Hall for writing a song catchy enough that it is still stuck in my head the following morning. The number’s director Tom Taplin also deserves note, even if just for ensuring there was that good ol’ musical theatre staple: the kick line.

There were several standout moments, with the cast bumbling through admirably and the odd slip-up barely detracted from the enjoyment of the evening. However, it would be wrong not to praise the entire team of composers and lyricists (Geraint Owen, Will Hall, Laurence T-Stannard, Alex Harris, Ruari Paterson-Achenbach, Molly Cook, James Martin, Maddie Paige, Luke Alex Pitzer, Alfred Leigh, Will Bicknell-Found, Noah Geelan) for knowing exactly what the audience wanted out of the evening and delivering just the right balance of cheese and absurdity.

There was some genuinely well-written pathos – ‘Let Me Know’ by Luke Alex Pitzer and Alfred Leigh was a well composed and beautifully performed lament about a couple’s failing marriage. Furthermore, the live band (Lucy Roberts on Bass, Harsh Prasad on Drums and Joanna Cheng with the keyboard) was incredibly impressive, able to keep up with the performers’ mishaps without seemingly missing a beat.

Perhaps the only ask of the evening would be a better way of connecting the musical numbers – some form of story line or perhaps sketches – as the evening felt disjointed at times. However, given time constraints, it is understandable that they went for the simplest method and compere Megan Gilbert did an admirable job in holding it together.


Mountain View

2017 Theatre Highlights

 The 24 Hour Musical is the kind of thing that is only seen in student theatre and that’s what made it fun: it was silly and refreshing, the kind of thing that would be nice to see more of on the ADC stage. The busy lives of Cambridge students mean a 24-hour commitment may work well for the stressed and overworked thesp. However, the charm of the 24 Hour Musical/Dance/Play is probably in its novelty and that, along with the abundant talent which yet again fills all aspects both on and off the stage, is certainly what made the evening