This twelve-strong company are enthusiastic, bright young things who sing, sway and beat-box with great spirit.
they are clearly having enormous fun onstage
Unfortunately, this verve and vigour is not matched by messy production values and a lack of purpose and coherence in the risible script. The team are ill at ease in the largely inaudible acted scenes which sadly undermines much of the goodwill they have built up in their bouncy musical numbers. Does this matter? Regrettably: yes. If a show advertises itself as comedy then a paying audience will expect well… something at least verging on humorous. It is a great shame that an otherwise solid enough show has allowed itself to be hijacked by interludes which appear to be bringing no-one any form of joy – the cast least of all. Rather than indulging the in ‘jokes’, family and friends would be much kinder to suggest a carving knife be taken to the unwieldy concept and encourage the voices to shine for what they are.
With some additional range – such as was evident in the original work showcased – and a keen directorial eye, these youngsters have enough potential to prepare a tighter show for coming years, for the singing is largely musically sound and on the money. A drop too much sameyness and occasional lack of balance aside, they are a talented bunch who perform with energy and attack. The lyrics of their final number, Marren Morris’ The Bones tells us that if the bones are good then the rest don’t (sic) matter… and perhaps this is true for The Illuminations: they are clearly having enormous fun onstage, and the impassioned ‘bones’ of the vocals – and one or two stand-out turns in particular - are punchy and full of joy.