Written, rehearsed, and performed – all in 24 hoursCUMTS

When I mentioned to an acquaintance that I would be reviewing a 24-hour musical, he balked. “Who on earth would sit through a whole day of musical theatre?” Although I, too, would have resisted a full 24 hours, I would have very happily sat through more of the CUMTS 24 Hour Musical.

Unlike the assumption of my friend, this musical lasted a mere hour; it was the preparation for the production that took 24. As introduced by Cambridge musical theatre giant Joe Venable, “At 9 pm yesterday, this show was but a twinkle in its mother’s eye”. It would be unfair, therefore, to comment on the few hiccups that this production suffered from. I found myself reflected in the deer-in-headlights stare of many an unfortunate actor whose words escaped them, but that didn’t hinder my enjoyment of this production at all. It was a truly riotous night out.

As I sat in the packed ADC, the incredibly talented on-stage band gave the first hints of the theme of this year’s musical. Mellow Ed Sheeran and Stevie Wonder covers, coupled with my sobriety compared to the rest of the crowd, made me feel truly a part of the awkward family wedding. I was ready for the gossip, drama, and “mischievous jiltings”, and this show certainly delivered. The first number promised that this would be “the best damn wedding that I’d ever attended”, and despite the charming choreographical mistakes from the surprisingly large cast, I was inclined to believe it. The costumes were impressively curated, the singing remarkably crisp, and the enthusiasm infectious.

“The audience were singing along by the end of the performance”

The musical benefitted from some serious stand-out numbers. “Happily Ever Afternoon” gave me the minimum-wage service worker representation that I didn’t know I needed and made for a wonderful fresh perspective on the business of weddings. The hilarious “Ladies Who Brunch”, giving a voice to the drunken middle-aged attendees, was expertly performed, and “Stop This Wedding” was a perfect introduction to the main conflict of the piece. Although other songs, like the exchange between the bride and her bridesmaids, didn’t land as well, the actors all did a brilliant job at developing fully fleshed characters.

All the fun of a family wedding without having to be part of the awkwardnessCUMTS

All that can be said about the composition can be summarised by the fact that the audience were singing along by the end of the performance. The music was catchy and, although it owed major debts to some musical theatre icons, had moments of stunning harmonies and breath-taking high notes. I am willing to forgive the sometimes simple lyrical choices in light of some hilariously original moments, like an entire song revolving around “dust on the skirting board” (it was far more engaging than it sounds!). The list of Camdram credits for the production team is about a mile long, but each of them should be applauded individually for their creativity.


Mountain View

Astrid Review

I was very impressed by the slickness of the sound and lighting, especially for a production that was conceived in only 24 hours. Matthew Wadey’s lighting design did an excellent job at separating the various settings of the wedding venue, clearly differentiating the inner sanctum of the bride’s dressing room from the bustling commercial kitchen catering her nuptials. The sound, designed by Tim McGilly, was executed flawlessly, which was impressive for the show’s short rehearsal time. The technical team cannot be praised enough.

Altogether, this musical was beautifully self-aware. It wasn’t trying to be a Lin-Manuel Miranda masterpiece, nor was it aiming for highbrow. It hit the mark almost perfectly as rowdy, hilarious, late-night entertainment. The performers and production crew alike should be proud. The ethos of this production was summed up in its finale, a reprise of the opening song. Maybe everything didn’t turn out the way I expected, but it definitely was the best damn wedding I’ve ever attended.