The Mancunion

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Review: Where Dreams Come True

Anuli Changa gets whisked off to Disneyland with the Musical Theatre Society’s first revue at the Anchor Café

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Manchester Musical Revue, (MMR) is a brand-new venture by the University of Manchester Musical Theatre Society. MMR made its debut in Where Dreams Come True.  This delightfully hilarious show (directed by Chris Pope) is about wannabe actors who are performing at “Café Mickey”, awaiting their bring break.

The actors are constantly reminded to bring smiles and joy to others through Disney — whilst they individually suffer — by their flamboyant manager played by Ed Roberts. The show brought much joy and hilarity to its audience! In the perfect venue of the Anchor Café, transformed with some minimal lighting and drowned with innumerable Disney toys, the perfect low budget Disneyland was born.

The cast, musicians and creatives managed to create a wonderful atmosphere of comedy and the enjoyment of a concert and almost a soap opera as we experience the struggles of unrequited love and actor rivalry. The cast all kept their names but took on different characters.

These ranged from the comedy of George Haviland who never quite got to sing a whole solo, to the great rivalry between Helena Stanway and Jess Adams’ characters – culminating in a unique Part of Your World with great harmonies — musical direction by Bonnie Schwarz.

This cast, accompanied by an impressive live band, were immensely ambitious in their selection of some of the most well-known Disney songs, picking from the likes of ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Tangled.’ A highlight group number was the rendition of ‘Make a Man Out of You’ (Mulan), led by Dom McGann. Arguably one of the most iconic Disney numbers, it was well performed with apt choreography by Lucy Scott.

Just when you were sure you knew what was going on in this fast-moving show, you’re hit waves of unexpected genius.  A favourite of mine was ‘Colours of the Wind’ (Pocahontas) sung by Kate Gabriel, furiously trying to save the planet one song at a time, throwing leaves and Disney toys at the audience — yet still managing to sing at the same time.

And of course, no one expected the twist of Ed Roberts singing ‘Let it Go’ (Frozen) in Spanish with Carol-Ann McConnellogue, a wonderful surprise that made a predictable song so much more. Daisy Shuttleworth’s rendition of ‘Almost There’ (Princess and the Frog) was a vocal standout, along with Jess Adams as a chillingly good Mother Gothel singing Mother Knows Best (Tangled).

I look forward to much more from MMR – this show was feel good and whimsical, created in such a short time and a great success!