Christmas, as much fun it can be, is inevitably an expensive time of year: presents for the kids; buying in food and drink, or perhaps even going away for a yuletide break if you’re lucky enough – it all adds up and leaves a big hole in your pocket. Fast forward a month or so though and the next pay cheque has come in and suddenly you have a little money back in that pocket and are ready to start spending it again. So it’s the perfect time to organise a cabaret!
There are a number of musical theatre cabarets coming up in February/March to choose from. I’ve written here recently on some of them: Rebecca Caine, Anderson and Petty, Chloe Hart and announced just a few days ago, a new SimG Productions cabaret.
SimG Productions is gaining in prominence every day with its work in developing and supporting new British musical theatre writers. Cabarets roll around with every season; the last one was a winter cabaret at the Battersea Barge that celebrated the company’s past year with a selection of performers who had been involved in their events. Although I couldn’t make that particular cabaret as I was in Lincolnshire, I’ve been to my fair share of them and have always found them to be great fun and full of some wonderful talent, both new and established. Now, with spring fast approaching (and thank god for that!), SimG Productions are returning to the Barge to present a new seasonal cabaret: Easter With… The Composers. As part of last year’s Summer With… season, there was a composers’ cabaret with the fabulous quartet of Laurence Mark Wythe, Dougal Irvine, Tim Sutton and Grant Olding; four of Britain’s best writers in musical theatre. I was present for this one; the cabaret was an instant sell-out and, with the addition of some great West End performers such as Samantha Barks, Stevie Webb and Annalene Beechey, was a superb showcase of these four composer’s work which beautifully highlighted why they are so well-thought of in musical theatre circles. If they are the ones currently leading the way for MT writing however, the composers’ cabaret for this year is all about its future. On Sunday 25th March 2012, supporters of new writing can come on down to the Battersea Barge, described as “one of the most atmospheric performance spaces in town” to hear compositions from four of musical theatre’s brightest young stars.
Writing duo (Jake) Brunger and (Pippa) Cleary have already written a couple of musicals together, including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival smash-hits Jet Set Go! and The Great British Soap Opera, both of which also had runs at London’s Jermyn Street Theatre. Their songs have been heard in cabarets all over London, from the Pheasantry to the Arts Theatre and they are now working on new musical A British Boy In Brooklyn.
Composer/MD Lindsey Miller was one of the 22 young composers showcased in the 4th Annual Tim Williams Awards for Theatrical Composition in June 2011. She submitted two songs, one of which was performed by Peter Polycarpou and won the ‘Josephine Hart Poetry Into Song Award’. She has also composed the scores for two Edinburgh Fringe shows: Hansel & Gretal and The Jungle Book.
Midlands-based composer/MD Chris Passey recently released his debut album ‘Self Taught, Still Learning’ which featured compositions from his concept musical Bridges. Last month, he hosted An Evening With Chris Passey and Friends at the Leicester Square Theatre, showcasing songs from the album with the help of West End friends such as Shona White, Stevie Webb, and special guests Anderson & Petty.
Songwriter/actor Joe Sterling has just recently finished the UK tour of The Jungle Book where he understudied the role of Mowgli. He has also been working on his soon-to-be-released debut album which includes songs from his concept musical Roundabout (I’ve heard all the recorded tracks and can attest to how wonderful it will be) and features some amazing names such as Killian Donnelly, Rosa O’Reilly and Jonathan Williams. He was also a guest performer at the winter concert of Giggin4Good last weekend, where he showcased two of the album’s songs.
The composer’s cabaret will be a great opportunity for existing fans to show their support and for new ones to get a taste of their music. With a whole host of some of the West End’s biggest stars coming aboard the Barge to perform their work, it promises to be a brilliant evening of new musical theatre.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
Monday 13th February 2012
Easter With…The Composers takes place at the Battersea Barge on Sunday 25th March 2012, 7.30pm.