VAULT FESTIVAL REVIEW: (Wo)men Rule Broadway ★★★
(Wo)men Rule Broadway: West End Edition
The Cresent, Vault Festival
Friday 6th & 20th March 2020
So often in musicals, the male parts are perceived as the hero or villian, whilst the females sing about their love for men. Directed and Produced by Kelly Coughlin, this cabaret style production brings forward nine ensemble performers who each turn that ethos on its head, by singing the songs originally written by men. Whilst the vocals are heavenly at times, the whole of the production otherwise is rather lost, with nothing more than simply women singing the men's songs with no real explanation why those particular songs were chosen rather than the fact that they sound nice.
With the iconic Hamilton logo depicted in their advertising, the show would seem to set itself up as a celebration of females and a night of laughter and a lively atmosphere, but that couldn't be far from the truth, as instead we have two hosts (Kelly Rogers and Genevieve Flati) who share no charisma between eachother and seem like a rather odd pairing, with no rapture with the audience z and maybe Taht could be down to the tight running time and plethora of musical numbers that have to fit in, accompanied by their three piece band made from Becky Brass (Drums), Shonagh Murray (Piano), and and Ben Mabberley (Bass).
Aside from Rogers and Flati, the following six performers each display performances that could easily be placed in the west end right now. Rosalind James' 'Heaven on Their Minds' from Jesus Christ Superstar is electric and her energy and attitude commands the room, whilst Dixie Newman, Ciara Power, and Kelly Coughlin collectively have the audience at ease with their rendition of Dear Evan Hansen's 'Sincerely Me' with choreography that has been plucked straight from the Broadway show.
Hannah Cheetham's expressionistic manner during 'Hard to be the Bard' and 'Pretty Women' also conveys sheer skill in the ability to switch her body language and attitude. Katie Hartland and Ciara Power both keep you entertained, and found myself constantly transfixed on through their characteristic nature, wether that was as a main solo or ensemble placing, whilst finally Jaimie Pruden will brought the audience to a silence where you could hear a pin drop through her rather harrowing rendition of 'What Would I Do?' from Falsettos.
Overall, whilst the vocals from each performer excels, showing justice in their ability to shine and prove their presence on stage, the concept behind the whole evening falls flat with no rhapsody with the audience, or clear explanation behind the chose of numbers.