Every time I go to see a MUSE show I can’t help but think “what the hell are these people wasting their time at university for?” Go get yourselves recording contracts already because you’re all bloody amazing.
Getting to the actual show, MUSE’s cabaret Before Tomorrow once again did not disappoint – although it’s pretty hard to do wrong by a self-confessed lover of show tunes and cheesy dancing. Though I must admit, the cast had it right when they opened the show singing “at the start of the show when nobody knows just what to expect or believe.” Upon entrance to the Sound Lounge at Seymour Centre I was somewhat lost, having never actually attended a cabaret before. I ambled wistfully through the scattered bar tables, trying to find a spare seat. There seemed to be a suspicious number of reserved seats around the room – I had no idea MUSE had so many A-List BNOC fans. It wasn’t until the usher told me to move my hand bag out of the aisle for the performers, that it became quite clear what was going to happen when the lights went down.
I should imagine this is what the inventor of surround-sound had in mind when he designed that technology. I’ll be honest, I’m not usually one for the whole performing-through-the-audience thing, especially not in auditorium style theatres. But in such an intimate setting it most definitely worked. Whirlpools of energy went around the room, powered by hop-steps, jazz hands and powerful choruses.
The show itself is a tasteful melange of classic musical theatre pieces. The songs carry you through 24 hours, from night to day, by touching on the various people and situations we might encounter as city dwellers. There’s literally something to resonate with everyone, from Finding Neverland, to La La Land. From SMASH, to Cabaret itself. With a rotating spotlight, a refreshing variety of new and legacy MUSE voices were showcased. The whole show was not unlike an episode of Glee (which, I swear, is not an insult - I was really with that show up until Season 3).
Personal highlights of the night time half included the passionate belting out of ‘(Let’s start) Tomorrow Tonight’ and a rendition of ‘Maybe This Time’ that almost rivalled Kristen Chenoweth’s (my Queen).
It seemed to take the audience a little while to settle into the whole cabaret genre, but by the second half, the ‘woos’ and claps were almost definitely coming from people other than those performers strategically planted around the room to do so. From darkness, to a sea of powder blue, the second half of the show is where all the fun is at. The version of “Taylor the Latte Boy” was not only pitch, but comedically perfect. And just when everyone thought they were comfortable with what was going on, out came the infamous gold Rocky shorts! It was necessary though, I mean, how do you have a cabaret like this and NOT include a Rocky Horror Picture Show piece?
If you find yourself struggling for something to look at (although I doubt you will) spare a moment to admire the band and their conductors’ work. Not being a musician myself, I don’t fully understand what the conductor does, but I know it’s important and boy do I love watching them groove.
Overall, the show is an entertaining experience. It’s hard not to enjoy yourself when the cast is beaming with performance adrenaline all around you. There’s no real storyline to follow, which is great because you can sit back and just indulge in the abundance of hidden talent at USyd.
Tonight’s show may be sold out already, but do yourself a favour and try and scalp a ticket pronto.