The Cambridge University Show Choir’s Harmonise the Dancefloor was a one-off, sold-out late show at the ADC Theatre on 2nd December. It promised be a fun and energetic evening and it very much delivered. The performers didn’t fail to delight a crowd of revelers whose raucous excitement was tangible— in fact it was a credit to the Show Choir that they managed to work off rather than be put off by an audience who pushed the limits of polite and acceptable noise and interruption in a show. The result was a profoundly enjoyable show only made better by the obvious delight of fellow audience members.
From the get-go everything worked impeccably. The costumes were simple and well done, with matching costumes for people of all genders. This was in-keeping with the overall professionalism of the event. The show was well choreographed with a perfect pitch of being not too complex to execute while still being impressive. The song choices for the majority of the show were strong, presenting a broad range of styles with wide appeal, although sometimes this presented a minor problem in the form of unwelcome attempts of the audience to sing along. Importantly, the vocals were, by and large, incredibly strong.
The fun was infectious and it was a joy to see that the performers, as much as the audience, were really getting into it. They worked incredibly well together as a group, which is obviously important. They were at their best during the bigger group songs, with highlights for me including Cher’s Believe and an inspired ‘explosion’ medley of Grenade, Firework, and Dynamite. That said, the boys alone singing Rihanna’s Only Girl was superb, and the rendition of Robbie Williams’s Angels got the audience gently swaying. The only time I really questioned song choice was during an oddly tranquil rendition of Superbass. Even if the energy picked up at the end of the number, in my opinion a little more oomph was necessary to pull off a Nicki Minaj number. But even this, while I didn’t love it, was far from bad.
The compere, on a night like this, can make a real difference, and this show’s one was strong, confident, funny, and engaging, although some of his jokes went a little amiss. Despite this, I did wonder if from time to time he was left on stage just a fraction too long, with a space of time slightly too big for him to fill; there was a moment or two where his exchanges with the audience became a little awkward. As I say, this was not down to a lack of skill on his part but a small misjudgment in the pacing of the show.
On a production level, the generally professional show was let down on a couple of occasions simply by the height of the microphones. During a number of songs the solo voice was drowned out by the chorus because the soloist was not close enough to the microphone for the level to be right. This was a shame because the quality of the singing was of such a high standard that it would have been nice to be able to hear all of it. I suppose this is a by-product of the rapid rotation of singers that they had taking place. This rotation was actually one of my favourite things about the evening, as there was a real sense of a “collective”, rather than the Glee-style stars of Show Choir getting all the big solos. Perhaps in that sense a few mic hiccups were unavoidable.
That said, these minor hitches were largely lost in the grand scheme of things. The evening was a night of high octane fun, an easy pleasure in which it was tempting to lose oneself. It is clear to see, with a performance like this, how this group won the national show choir competition last year last year.
Ronan Marron (Get Real. contributor)