Big Band Does Halloween,
**** 4 Stars
“Spooktacular Charming Fun“
Edinburgh based BBD productions launched themselves at the Edinburgh Fringe 2019 to critical acclaim infusing some of the biggest songs from Broadway and the west end with the incredible sound of a live jazz big band. Think Glenn Miller meets Lloyd Webber and Sondheim, and you get the flavour.
The company were slated to return for the 2020 fringe season but Covid took its grip, but the performers have decided to bring some Halloween cheer with there own virtual offering and what a charming fun affair it all is.
Macauley Burns opens the show with a powerful and committed performance of ‘Bat Out of Hell’ from the same titled musical which wowed audiences in the Coliseum in London’s west end and is scheduled for a UK tour in 2021. . Rachel White then gives her take on ‘Dead Mom’ from the Broadway hit musical adaption of the Tim Burton film, ‘Beetlejuice’. Rachel’s performs with conviction and commitment which suits the piece.
Rachel Stanley steps into the Iconic Bette Midler’s shoes for a rendition of ‘I Put a Spell on You’ from Hocus Pocus. Rachel brings the right sense of fun to the song and is ably assisted on backing vocals by Sarah Docwra and Rachel Flynn.
Its then time for a spot of Sondheim as Chris McLeish performs ‘Not While I’m Around’ from Sweeney Todd his is a sophisticated take on the song accompanied by solo piano while a million miles away from a big band sound it’s an endlessly watchable performance. Moving swiftly to ‘Pulled’ from ‘The Addams Family Musical’, performed by Jenny Kinnear. It was inevitable that song from “Addams” would pop up as the most Halloween of musicals. Kinnear delivers the goods with vocal precision.
Former Queen Jane Seymour from “Six” Caitlin Tipping performs ‘Monster’ from ‘Frozen the Musical’ which is slated to open at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane later in 2021. Tipping is flawless in her vocal power and control and is indeed a skill, hopefully future BBD productions will showcase the other side of her voice with a ballad. Speaking of ballads, ‘With You’ from ‘Ghost the Musical’ is next up performed by Dannielle Logan. This is a song which details the emotional tragedy of loss. Logan’s performance is uniquely beautiful, honest, and truthful take that touches the heart and soul in equal measure and is indeed the highlight of the virtual show.
Marc MacKinnon changes the mood to late night new York supper club with a touch of jazz with a performance of ‘Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered’ from ‘Pal Joey’, Mackinnon knows his skills well and is an engaging performance to watch through the lens of the camera. Attention turn to comedy and finally turned in performance of ‘Together Again’ from ‘Young Frankenstein’ performed by Scott Coltman. His vocals are matched by his comic timing and characterisation as he duets with himself. Closing the broadcast is Claire Moore performing ‘Last Midnight’ from ‘Into the Woods’. Claire throws herself into the role and indeed into the woods with a atmospheric and chilling Spooktacular conclusion to the show.
Overall, this is 30 minutes of fast musical fun, even if the songs are only connected to Halloween by a mere word, and the overall show would have benefited from a group number to bring the strings together at the end. For that being said BBD have shown what a gifted roster of talent are at there fingertips.
The broadcast is available to stream until 5th November and is well worth checking out.
BBD Productions present, Big Band Does Halloween for tickets go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/big-band-does-halloween-tickets-126789890977?fbclid=IwAR3jToJle2olJB8MlgTHVg1uQxZDomswBm7-_rdKfGRG4ETzrDt2__xBLKU