Since my last review of a live show a lot has changed, the theatre world has become worryingly close to extinction, industry professionals have adapted as much as they could and we all eagerly awaited announcements from Oliver Dowden… but the world kept turning.
The World Goes ‘Round is a revue-style production to celebrate the work of John Kander and Fred Ebb. Never heard of them? Me neither... but they are the minds behind some of the most well-known musicals such as Cabaret and Chicago as well as the hit song New York, New York.
This show’s name is very timely for the current situation as well as being exactly what us poor, deprived theatre lovers needed after 5 months without a live performance. Personally I was relieved to be told to wear a mask for the entirety of the performance so I could hide my massive goofy grin which didn’t falter for the entirety of the 75 minutes.
The Barn Theatre have pulled out all the stops to keep the magic of theatre alive when Covid-19 is trying so very hard to stamp it out. The evening featured little boxes marked out on the floor with either chairs or pillows and blankets, socially distanced bars and toilets and audience members wearing masks and keeping their distance.
Of course, it’s not quite the good ol’ theatre we know and love, the clapping feels a little sparse no matter how much you cheer and the intimacy pre-Coronavirus can’t exactly be replicated. Despite all the alien changes there is nothing like watching live theatre, and let me tell you, it felt good to be back.
Four singers and one singer/pianist took to the makeshift stage in the Ingleside Gardens to delight and entertain an audience of about 50 socially distanced people. Jenny Fitzpatrick opened with the titular number. Her tone is my kryptonite when it comes to voices; I found myself brushing down goosebumps every time she sang. She was joined by the rest of the cast, George Arvidson, Nick Barstow (also musical director), Ryan Carter and Rosalind Ford for the second (and my favourite) number which was Coffee in a Cardboard Cup.
Director Kirk Jameson has excelled in keeping the pace snappy and songs engaging with plenty of props and dynamic staging. The five sounded gorgeous when singing in unison but each were strong with their own solos. They oozed confidence even when battling racing motorbikes in a nearby road, gail force winds and a masked audience in total daylight. Hats off to them!
The show reminds you why you loved the classics such as Mr Cellophane and Cabaret but also introduces you to some of Kander and Ebb’s lesser-known work which has already made its way onto my playlists.
Worried about Covid-19? No need, The Barn has thought of everything. Worried about the weather? No need, I attended in the middle of a storm and still didn’t need a coat. Worried about it not being worth your time? No need, it’s a brilliant production that you won’t regret going along to.