MUSICAL REVIEW: Brass ★★★★★
From the moment the final note fell, I don’t believe there would have been a dry eye in the main auditorium of The Everyman Theatre last night; whether that was from the angst and hunger that has been ripped away from our favourite pastime of up to a year, or the genuine outpour of evident emotion instilled from the cast, Stagedoor Learning’s production of Benjamin Till’s BRASS was a triumphant return to showcasing the brightest stars of a future generation in the theatre industry.
A musical which spans between August 1914 to July 1916, Brass tackles the subjects of Children in the Military, The Women who banded round each other back home, and the brave men who fought for our nation, with utmost respect and vibrancy in musical numbers. From the Stagedoor Learning Gang, this 35-strong alliance brought the house down multiple times with their renditions; Luca Gilbert-Cresswell’s artful portal of Alf Mabberley led the pack of ‘Pals’ with his confidence and charismatic nature that had him standing out amongst the crowd, even in the bigger ensemble numbers. Abbie Gregory’s Eliza tore apart several times the absolute heart of what makes her character with raw emotion, a portrayal that will leave you with tears, as her frustration and fear for all those close around her crumble, leaving quite possibly the biggest lasting memory from the whole performance.
Emily Kay, Matthew Grimes, Jack Knight, Aidan Brown, Izzy Palmer, and Hattie Smith should also be given a tremendous amount of recognition for their roles on stage, with not a single moment lost from this collective, each of them showing passion and commitment with utmost force. Sonny Williamson, Tamzyn Regan, and Evelyn Gill must also be included in this list, but separated solely with the excuse of shining a light on the very few comedic moments in the production; Trying to watch the number ‘You’ll Always Have a Friend’ was incredibly difficult without your eye being drawn Williamson, as he embodied George Tilley with such physicality, something which Regan and Gill both give polar opposites to with their respected characters, but equally show understanding of their intentions and comic timing, evidently proven from the pool of laughter in the audience.
Although those above have been plucked out of a much larger pool, it should not be mistaken that the whole reason why the production is so intertwined and powerful is due to the vast ensemble of characters. Jenny Cameron continues to prove and deliver this with her directing and casting, as she gives us small glimpses of a skillful manner to those in their introductory year on this BTEC Course, to which throughout the upcoming 12 months, we’ll further see them break out on their own into roles so perfectly suited for them. The programme provided for Brass doesn’t entirely make it clear who was in which year, but that’s exactly what made the whole production so professional; each and every member on stage skillfully performed to their highest level.