Broadway BR and Rest: An Evening with the R&R Wednesday 28th May 2014 8pm NCH

As one of the best known and most loved amateur musical societies in the country, an evening with the Rathmines & Rathgar Musical Society is always something to look forward. It seems fitting then, considering their solid reputation that the musical society would choose the glam and swagger of Broadway to propel into their second century of existence.

The evening was cleverly parted into four components; Gershwin, Herman, Kander and Ebb and Sondheim, with compere Jimmy Dixon casually guided the audience through the programme. Unfortunately, however, their take on the best of Broadway, with its piano accompaniment, left a lot to be desired.

The celebration of Gershwin seems promising with a short but inclusive programme. Yet, the awkward swaying being provided by the cast in the opening moments, immediately lowers the tone of the evening. Instead of the usual professionalism that the R&R have radiated in past productions, the audience is met by a sea of mediatory, and at times worse, is being emitted from the stage of the NCH.  As the section develops, sound performances come from Peter O’Reilly and Hannah O’Brien with the highlight being Garret Reynolds and Megan McGrath’s performance of Lets Call The Whole Thing Off. The couple provide a strong theatrical performance, capturing the character of the song both in their interplay with each other and their vocals. The R&R’s take on Herman’s Hello Dolly hints at the society’s capabilities but it’s not until Kate McKeown and her colleagues arrive on stage for Tap Your Troubles Away, that the first signs of Broadway appear. Although a few slips are present, the performance at least attempts to wow the crowd: although more conviction from McKeown with her lines would benefit the performance further.

Was it not been for Damian Douglas’ appearance on stage after the interval, there would surely be more audience members wishing they had taken the same route as those who had been in the now newly vacant seats. A selection of tunes from Cabaret and Chicago helped to win the crowd back with Douglas’ Mr. Cellophane bringing the night to an apex. A nod to Sondheim brings the evening to a close. For once the piano accompaniment flourishes even during larger numbers, particularly the West Side Story Medley.

Overall, tonight’s performance was weak and disappointing. At no point did the R&R achieve the greatness of their past performances and at times the evening mirrored that of a school production. Although there were flaws on all levels, the piano accompaniment seems to soaked all the razzle-dazzle from even the performances which beamed with promise. In all this was a disappointing event for loyal R&R fans.

‘Fascinating Rhythm /I’ve Got Rhythm’
‘It Ain’t Necessarily So’
‘Bess, You Is My Woman’
‘Love is Here To Stay’
‘Someone To Watch Over Me’
‘Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off’
‘Strike Up The Band’

Jerry Herman
‘Hello, Dolly!’
‘Time Heals Everything’
‘Tap Your Troubles Away’
‘I Won’t Send Roses’
‘Bosom Buddies’
‘The Best of Times’

Kander & Ebb
‘Maybe This Time’
‘Money, Money’
‘Mr. Cellophane’
‘All That Jazz’

Stephen Sondheim
West Side Story Medley
‘One Hand, One Heart’
‘Buddies Blues’
‘Being Alive’
‘I’m Not Getting Married Today’
‘I’m Still Here’ Sondheim Medley