Napier University Drama Society returns to the musical stage after selling out last year. This is particularly worthy as these are not necessarily drama students but enthusiasts out for experience and fun. For this year’s Fringe run, writers Joshua O’Brien and Anthony Smyth Cowper have collaborated with composers Honza Kourimnsky and Ruby McKinnell to produce a parody on the Hollywood blockbuster
Actors with convincing US accents, well projected vocals (no radio mics) and confident performance throughout results in another triumph for NUDS.
The fast-moving story opens with Grandpa Tam in his care home telling of Ellie and Annie navigating through well-known lands with more Disney parodies than I could ever appreciate, but can still get carried along with. We meet the Princess, so grand “her ponies have ponies”, who is captured by two drag queen baddies and locked in a prop cage which they comically refer to as the “Nicolas” cage. The cage character duets with Annie with just solo piano to great effect, worthy of any musical. We hear Senga ‘choose life’ and Rapella responding to a rap challenge. This piece is a highlight showing her character skills and responding to the boys. Original musical theatre songs do follow a template and here we have no exceptions. Competently produced by the live musicians we get the ballads, the over the top show songs and an ensemble piece fabulously choreographed with the whole cast in sync on stage and belting it out.
A huge cast – I counted 14 on stage, plus musicians and an even bigger team of techies, production crew and media staff – makes this the success it is with sold out performances. Actors with convincing US accents, well projected vocals (no radio mics) and confident performance throughout results in another triumph for NUDS.