You'll begin this show painfully aware that you’re sitting in the hall of a secondary school. However, you'll leave feeling like you’ve just sat through a West End show.
Must not be missed if you have any interest in seeing a West End level performance
Captivate Theatre put on what can only be described as a flawless performance of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. This is a stage adaptation of the Disney film of the same name, which uses Alan Menken’s music and Stephen Schwartz’s lyrics. Set in 16th Century Paris and telling the story of the hunchback, Quasimodo, this is a tale of love, anguish, betrayal, and most importantly whether a monster is what is on the outside or within.
From the beginning the ensemble sent shivers down my spine with a rendition of the choral opening number. Their vocals were captivatingly powerful, their harmonies noticeably perfect, and it was hard to find a fault from this point onwards. The ensemble cast filled the stage with character which otherwise had a very simple, but curiously effective, set. Although just scaffolding, the set allowed the characters to travel to all necessary locations with ease and without the audience getting lost once.
There were two standout performances from Auden McGrath and Lewis Kerr. McGrath, playing Frollo, has a voice that sits perfectly for the low, booming tone that was required. He performed and dictated like a seasoned professional and his relationship and performance across from the rest of the cast was key to this piece’s success. Kerr was also exceptional in his performance of Quasimodo, his voice fell into deep, powerful baritone notes and soared in his tenor range, whilst his movement across the stage was just as dynamic. The energy he brought to the role was captivating and of the utmost quality.
A mention must also go to Camila Lopez, who rose to the challenge of the female protagonist of the piece, Esmeralda. Her acting was heart-breakingly believable and her solos left goosebumps tingling on my back. Hamish Coles put on a visceral performance as Phoebus de Martin, the main love interest of Esmerelda. His voice was strong and commanding throughout and he brought out much of the comedy in his character. The King of Roma, the final character that must be mentioned, was played to perfection by Hudson Scheel. His mannerisms and physicality perfectly encapsulated the sneaky, cocky, but damaged character he was emulating.
This is a show that must not be missed if you have any interest in seeing a West End level performance in a venue no different to your old school hall.