Created by: WITCH Music Theatre
Directed by: Ben Emerson and Greta Casey-Solly
Reviewed by: Madelaine Empson
ROXY: A New Hollywood Cabaret is an all-singing, all-sparkling stage spectacular. This WITCH Music Theatre production pays homage to the magical musical moments of the silver screen, with songs like Singin’ in the Rain, Lady Marmalade, and Sparkling Diamonds (Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend) performed by a stellar cast of 23 fabulously dressed (costume design by Emma Stevens) singers, dancers, drag artists, and even an aerialist.
ROXY doesn’t let up once. While I crave more moments of softness, I’m swept up in the spectacle and blown away by the talent on display. Bailea Twomey’s outstanding Cut, Print… Moving On, Pippa Drakeford’s hilarious Science Fiction/Double Feature (and her entire character for that matter), Aine Gallagher’s moving Over the Rainbow, and Swings Both Ways, performed by Fynn Bodley-Davies and Zane Berghuis (both of whom shine in a band of stars conducted by music director and arranger Hayden Taylor) are all show highlights.
Then there are numbers that leave my jaw on the floor, like Jade Merematira’s Black & Gold with aerial choreography and silks by Jackson Cordery. My heart soars out of my chest and into the palm of Jason Chasland’s hand thanks to what I’m calling the performance of the year, Losing My Mind. Chasland’s The Hot Dog Song is one of the best and raunchiest things I’ve ever seen, with Patrick Jennings upping the entertainment factor as the hotdog vendor.
The ensemble work in ROXY is tight, especially when it comes to Karli Holdren, Björn Aslund, Thomas Laybourn, and Emily McDermott, who are equal to the relentless, dazzling choreography by Greta Casey-Solly, Leigh Evans, and Briar Franks.
Every single performer remains the picture of professionalism in the face of opening night technical problems with mics, feedback, levels… and one drunken audience member who exits mid-song to buy a bag of chips and re-enters mid-song to eat them deafeningly. A huge shoutout to Lane Corby, who doesn’t let the obnoxious behaviour affect her powerhouse rendition of Stars and the Moon. Multiple audience members cause more distractions on their phones, texting and scrolling through Instagram because they were told at the start they could take pictures. I’d really recommend rescinding that permission for future performances.
These teething issues don’t keep ROXY down. I’d love to see it a few nights on as it’s clearly a world-class production that belongs in the hallowed halls of Broadway.