Music and Lyrics: John Kander &Fred Ebb
Director: Deborah Mogford
Musical Director: Timm Adams
Reviewer: David Doyle
Kander and Ebb are among the most recognisable names in musical theatre. Having written such shows as Cabaret and Chicago, there are few who don’t know them. This sung-through musical review presents a selection of some of their best-known songs as well as some less well known but equally beautiful numbers.
Performed by members of Rockford University, 2 By 5 is an enjoyable, if not revolutionary piece of musical theatre. Under the guidance of musical director Timm Adams, the entire company performs wonderfully. There are some great vocals on display, and there isn’t a single song throughout the piece that feels superfluous.
The show uses a lot of choreography throughout including impressive tap routines, however, there are times when the company struggles. These moments disjoint and disrupt the apparent ease of the performance. The presentation of the piece also feels dated. The lack of a strong lighting or set design means that the narrative of pieces is sometimes lost. Given the talent of the performers, a more vibrant production would have further showcased their strengths.
2 By 5 is however, an extremely competent piece of musical theatre. Fans of Kander and Ebb won’t be disappointed given the fine performances on display and more casual fans of the genre will recognise some well-known show tunes while also being introduced to some lesser-known songs. This is a charming if slightly undercooked production that offers a good platform for some emerging stars of the American musical theatre scene.
Runs until Tuesday 9 August 2016 (not 8)