If you love musical theatre and adore drag shows, I’m betting you already have your tickets booked to see A Night At The Musicals at Theatre on the Bay. Billed as a show filled with ‘hilarious hijinks and shady shenanigans’, the best way to describe this UK offering is rusical meets cabaret, with a dash of pantomime.
You can expect a fringe-style production where favourite songs from great musicals are amusingly smashed to bits with stilettos and sequins courtesy of the Ebony and Ivory of theatre, Nigerian born Le Gateau Chocolat and British born Jonny Woo.
Whether A Night At The Musicals hits the promised heightened energy mark depends much on the expectations of the audience —they ultimately determines whether this off-the-wall show delivers on its promises, as audience reaction is key if the show isn't to feel a bit deflated.
Why? Because this is Cape Town, a city of world-class theatre productions and exquisite drag performers of the highest standard, so frazzled and quirky won’t necessarily cut it when our proudly Pink City’s theatre lovers come out to play. What can be guaranteed is that Chocolat’s beautiful baritone voice will appeal and Jonny the lip-sync-sensation will impress with undeniable stage presence.
A show that lures you in with a touch of Streisand and immediately surprises you with a genre mash-up of Phantom meets Darth Vader is bound to have moments that delight. I found the numbers that celebrate the musical appeal of Chess, Cabaret and Les Misérables to be such stand-out moments.
However, A Night At The Musicals’ laissez faire approach —economic both in choice of musicals and set— works against itself as it feels a bit light on the level of fun that can be had with a show of this nature in a wonderful space such as Theatre on the Bay. In trying to give the show an effortless character, it comes across as slightly too carefree for an audience to truly tap into its entertainment potential.
That being said, the duo may not necessarily sissy that walk, but they do have comedic timing that will hit a funny bone and leave you suitably enthralled if you’re in the mood for a sassy, frivolous take on musical fandom.
A Night At The Musicals is onstage at Theatre on the Bay until 5 October 2019, with tickets are available online through Computicket.