It feels like a lifetime since I was seated front of stage; looking up at the house lights, almost as nervous as the performers waiting behind the curtain. We Belong, produced by Edinburgh company Bare Productions is the first performance I’ve attended since Covid restrictions ended. It was only right that it should be a cabaret, my favourite genre.
Heart warming and quite simply cabaret at its finest.
Lights drop and my nerves vanish as Rory McKeon enters and performs an electric performance of Wilkommen from Cabaret. From that moment, the cast deliver and deliver as they take us through an education in songs from the best musicals.
The show is split into four sections: Showstopper; Villainous; High School and Encore. Each one has a selection of well-chosen songs designed to create a visionary storytelling experience. I’m immensely impressed with just how well the small cast manages to portray such a wide range of vocals and emotions. I’ve seen less done on a West End stage.
The cast comprises of 14 vocalists, each having an opportunity to shine in a constant rotation between lead and ensemble as the whirlwind of toe tapping ballads progresses. What never fails to impress me with casts of this size is the clever use of the space provided. Hosted in the Cabaret Room in the Three Sisters Pub in Edinburgh’s Cowgate, they are up against limited square footage, as anyone who has been to a Fringe show can attest. With a stage only capable of holding three to four at a time, the group works well in small spaces.
The atmosphere became increasingly relaxed as the cast warmed to the setting and the spirit of the production. Special mention must go to You Will be Found from Dear Evan Hansen performed by Darren Johnson, Zoe Brookes and Alex Singh (soloists) which we all know is a difficult song to get right but they smashed it. I have to admit, yes, I had a tear in my eye and enjoyed singing along to many of the numbers.
Encore ends We Belong with songs designed to get us to our feet, firing into performances of River Deep Mountain High and ending on Don’t Stop Believing. I had a smile across my face as my return to theatre was satisfied. The show is heart warming and quite simply cabaret at its finest.