What a joy seeing Tip Top back doing what they do best, on a stage entertaining the masses and tonight they came back with a bang. The Show Must Go On brings us a mash up of musicals with something for everyone. The vast stage in the Anthony Hopkins theatre stood completely empty with just a few lights shining across the darkness but it was soon filled with incredible vocals, killer choreography and a cast so full of joy and enthusiasm.
Bringing a show of this size together during a pandemic brings its own challenges and Tip Top rose to those challenges. Three groups created their own bubble, carrying out lateral flow testing and following Covid regulations, doing everything to pull together a show stopping show and co-directors/choreographers Phil Cross and Rhian Lyon should be applauded for their sheer talent and commitment to such a project. It certainly paid off and the audience were loving what was being delivered tonight.
Choreography was integral to the show this evening. Voule Vu and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie were some stand out pieces – the cast gave everything and even though there was distancing between dancers, it was spaced perfectly and delivered to a very high standard. Speaking of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, I must mention Andy Heath who stood out as the central character Jamie, embodying everything Jamie is about and delivering fabulous vocals and choreography. Lauren Mason, George Rushton and Joe Evans stood out every time they were dancing on stage as they gave everything to their routines, very clean and precise and constantly catching my eye.
There was plenty of humour in the likes of Stuck from Groundhog Day which brought lots of laughs from the audience and Master of the House where Rob Lyons and Chris Dukes shone. I enjoyed the ensemble in this song very much, each character had a little story to tell in the background and made it very entertaining.
There were some fantastic moments from the younger group of the cast. I See Stars, including sign language in parts which looked beautiful and Look at the Girl from Adrian Mole where the two leading cast worked so well to act out the lovely scene. The opening of act two seen the younger cast delivery 13 from 13 the musical and this opened the act with boom. Jack Marsh’s vocals were phenomenal and the note he held at the end was powerful and went on for eternity. Well done Jack!
Harmonies were stunning especially during the Something’s Coming. Also in Times are Hard where Sophia Bunning, Brogan Craine and Rhian Lyon came into their own and delivered a beautiful piece.
Flash Bang Wallop was a joyful piece telling a wonderful story and the choreography and staging was sublime
No show would be complete without music and for the most the band, led by Simon Phillips, sounded great. There were a few issues which distracted us as an audience especially during the opening song This Time where a violin played. I’m not sure if it was the volume or something else but it sounded a little scratchy and off putting during the song and the drums were extremely loud at times, during 13 they were so loud it was difficult to hear most of the solo vocals. I’m not sure if this was a balance issue but I did hear an audience member saying that it was difficult to hear everything clearly from the front row over the band which is a shame as there’s nothing better than a live band accompanying a musical.
Lighting by David Powell helped fill that huge stage and used so well, pulling focus where it needed to create different spaces and accentuate groups and sound by Daniel McAllister, give or take a couple of tiny issues, was fantastic.
Overall, this was a thoroughly entertaining evening and a great welcome back to Tip Top and the indoor stage.
The Show Must Go On at Theatr Clwyd continues until the 30th October with tickets available at https://www.theatrclwyd.com/event/tip-top-the-show-must-go-on
Reviewer: Damian Riverol
Reviewed: 27th October 2021
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★