After what was a thoroughly enjoyable performance by the Lyric players, I decided to explore the growing world of amateur dramatics, setting my sights on another group of high-calibre performers. My focus in this case is Mayhem Musical Theatre Company’s performance of The Wild Party, which is running from the 16th-18th May at Lost Theatre near Vauxhall.
Founded in 2006, Mayhem Musical Theatre Company is a relatively new, but, successful and expanding group, producing high quality productions that are accessible to all audience members. Based in South-West London, the group aims to produce up to five shows a year ranging from Broadway classics to lesser known musicals, as well as staging a yearly Shakespeare show in Cannizaro Park. The group strives for professionalism in all their productions and their current one ˜The Wild Party’ is no exception.
Set in 1930s Manhattan, a jaded vaudeville star (Queenie – Charlotte Donald) and her lover (Burrs – Mark Aspinall) decide to throw a ˜wild party.’ Paying tribute to the vaudeville sketches, a party ensues on stage fuelled by drugs, liqueur and general lewd behaviour. As the party continues and morals and inhibitions become looser, the show reaches a fever pitch. Desires are revealed and events occur which cannot be changed, reaching a climactic and scandalous end.
It was with high expectations that I went to watch the company’s adaptation of The Wild Party, at the LOST Theatre near Vauxhall. The show director by Dominic O’Hanlon leads a stellar cast of performers to take on these challenging roles. Countering the traditional problem of staging, which effect so many amateur dramatics companies, this performance felt like it had the drive of the director stamped throughout. Characters appeared on stage in naturalistic ways removing the sometimes forced ˜enter, say lines, leave’ movements that normally jar and destroy the verisimilitude of the performance.
The dances choreographed by Phoebe Gardner, are stunning, while the acting is every bit as strong as West End performances. The two leads were outstanding, with Aspinall’s Burrs given the manic edge that his character demands, while Charlotte Donald’s voice had some real power behind it. Overall the level of acting was arguably the highlight of the show, bringing a level of professionalism rarely seen in an amateur performance.
The sketch show style of performance is often difficult to achieve on a small budget and creative shortcuts sometimes need to be enforced. Imagine my surprise then when the simple act of having a chalk board at the side of the stage worked so well. Depicting the change in time and social mood, this single prop became a delightful addition to the already excellent stage design. Combine this with the top-quality facades and it all builds to the point where you forget you’re watching a show and are rather actually invited to the party.
The quality of the production was outstanding and it is definitely a show to go see. The group has taken this fairly unknown piece and added their own personality and take on it. I had a wild night and am now very much looking forward to their future productions.
Tickets can be booked online here