Broadway comes to Belfast in dazzling show
Life is a cabaret, old chum. Come to the cabaret…
The MAC has transformed one of its theatres into the Luminaire Club, where cabaret's the name of the game with this hugely impressive production of The World Goes Round.
Most of the audience is seated, drink in hand, at a series of small tables in front of a stage where three lit arches lead back to where five musicians sit, ready for action.
The performers arrive with coats and bags, like a group of friends meeting for coffee. Within minutes, Carolyn Maitland is belting out The World Goes Round - the first of a whole selection box of songs.
The show, devised by Scott Ellis and Susan Stroman, is a showcase of songs by Kander and Ebb from Broadway hits like Chicago, Cabaret, Kiss of the Spider Woman and The Rink.
And it's hit after hit after hit…
Director Stephen Whitson has created a watertight show here - not a beat is dropped, not a note is missed.
The arrangements and choreography are slick and the five singers can also act, dance and play their own instruments.
They raise a laugh with their high-energy Coffee in a Cardboard Cup, and Aveen Biddle keeps the mood light with a bit of Arthur in the Afternoon.
But Kander and Ebb aren't known for an entirely happy-go-lucky repertoire, so we have Conor McFarlane tugging at the heartstrings with Mr Cellophane and Marry Me. Will Arundell and McFarlane give a heartfelt version of I Don't Remember You/Sometimes a Day Goes By, before Stephanie McConville's stunning Cabaret.
Not all of the 20-plus songs offered here are familiar - but they are all superbly performed.
The talent is outstanding. Blunt Fringe Productions, which launched here five years ago, aims to develop professional music theatre here. If this production is anything to go by, the future's looking bright. Try and catch this little bit of Broadway in Belfast.