Review: MADD Gala show at Nottingham Playhouse 28-29 June 2019

The creatives, staff and students at the Midlands Academy of Dance & Drama certainly know how to put on an annual Gala performance and this year’s 2019 extravaganza at Nottingham Playhouse is one of the best we’ve seen. It’s always great to see the full company (all three years) giving their passionate all for the last number but this year’s choice to bring all the students on to the stage en mass instead of lined up along the sides of the auditorium is inspired. This year the final number Steal Your Rock and Roll staged by Emma Clayton totally wows the audience.

This year’s Gala is conceived, directed and staged by Emma Clayton. It’s musically directed by John Morton and choreographed by Gregory Apostolidis, Steward Avon-Arnold, Emma Clayton, Joshua Kyle Cantrill, James Doubtfire, Alan Harding, Luke Haywood, Mark Hedges, Jodie Knight, Colin Lang, Sue Sparham and Mark Webb. The excellent sound and lighting are designed by Rob Ketteridge (sound) and Leigh Mulpeter (lighting).

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Every piece in this fabulous Gala, be it a full dance number both modern or inspired by classic oldies; be it an ensemble of singers, a duet or single individual singing is done to a high degree of polish and talent/s. MADD certainly put the hours of work in and their overall excellence shows big time.

Our first half highlights for this year are Underground choreographed by Alan Harding; third year vocalist Jess Thomson with Maybe This Time; the second and third years in One Normal Night choreographed and staged by Emma Clayton; Understudy by third year vocalist Charlotte Little; I’m Here by third year vocalist Jordan-Bryony Heeley and Nothing Like A Dame staged by Mark Hedges and Emma Clayton. Third year vocalists Sophie Stott, Jess Thomson, Laura King, Chantelle Little, D’arcy Stokes and Ellen Osborn, choreographed by Mark Hedges, give us a stunning Cell Block Tango from Chicago. Second year Jorja Foster offers up a sensational Being Alive from Company. The pre-interval foot tapping number I Got Rhythm brings large sections of year two and year three students and Eddie Cartwright from year one on to the Nottingham Playhouse stage and their entire energy sets us up for the rest of the Gala evening.

 

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The second half is strong on excellent dance numbers including Stolen choreographed by Stewart Avon Arnold and In My Mind choreographed by Joshua Kyle Cantrill. We especially like the choreographic invention in Between Us choreographed by Gregory Apostolidis. Balancing up the evening well the second half also gives us plenty to enjoy with top class vocalists and song and dance numbers from contemporary shows and works from stage and screen.

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Overall this year’s MADD Gala (28-29 June) goes once again to show the wealth of talent that choose to train at the college and the even higher top quality of young professionals it has in its present graduates and those to graduate in the next two years.

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