***** 5 Stars
“Thrilling and Beguiling “
Following its acclaimed run at the 2019 Fringe, BBD productions are back with a bang in a brand-new production in association with Captivate Theatre that delivers nothing short of a stellar late night evening jewel of show that celebrates not only musical theatre but the diversity of those who are connected to it in any way shape or form.
Big Band Does Broadway is staged at the home of musical theatre at this year’s festival, the main theatre of the Rose nestled above Rose Street Lane and the corner of Charlotte Square as the audience enters, they are greeted by what must surely be the finest jazz band on the fringe under the direction of Rachel Blaquiere with a sound that is both full and lush.
What follows is an hour-long tribute to the great white way that’s delivered in a thrilling and beguiling way as Aiden Agnew, Ailsa Biggerstaff, Ali Robertson, Chris McLeish, Danielle Logan, Fergie Fraser, Marc Mackinnon and Rachel White join together, to show off both powerhouse vocals and emotional intensity that marks them out as the next generation headed straight for the west end and beyond.
Musical song choices are literally brilliant, opening with a New York Medley featuring on the town, Annie get your gun and kiss me Kate its clear from the off that this company are out to blow the socks off their audiences with peerless vocals backed by stunning musical arrangements from Jonnie Grant. The programme is packed with highlights but some that shine brightest are an overwhelmingly powerful tribute to the late Stephen Sondheim with a knockout “Being Alive” from company with a group performance that flows beyond the footlights right in the hearts of every audience member.
The scope of musicals covered is wide and varied from classics like Man of La Mancha and Oliver to more modern hits like Les Misérables and Rent to shows which are still to hit the shores of the UK but have smashed the audiences in New York such as Beetlejuice and Next to Normal.
In a joyous celebration of diversity, the cast bring the curtain down with “it’s time to just be” from Kinky Boots as LGBTQI+ pride flags fly and rainbow confetti rains down it’s a potent reminder that musical theatre has always be the safest of homes for everyone regardless of sexuality or gender and the sheer joy of performing is only outweighed by being able to tell our stories. For that Director Scott Coltman should receive our hearty thanks for delivering not only that potent reminder but the best late-night cabaret of musical theatre to be found on the Fringe in 2022!
Big Band Does Broadway is everything you could wish for and more and really typifies which Captivate at the Rose is the beating heart of musical theatre this fringe, so rush for those tickets before it sells out.
Big Band Does Broadway, Captivate at the Rose, The Rose Theatre (Venue 76) For tickets go to: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/big-band-does-broadway or directly from the venue box office.