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Review of Café Crescendo - The Late Show by R&D Youth Theatre at Royal & Derngate (Underground), Northampton

The Early Show had been quite special, however the Late Show was to offer even more and this time with truly added audience participation and experience. The dust cloths of the haunted cafe had been discarded and delicate white tablecloths, candles and a flower in a vase were in its place. We were at a quality cafe and ready for a bit of cabaret style entertainment.

Jessica (a superb Lauren Moody) is busy cleaning up the cafe when her boyfriend (we shall see about that) Daniel (Ryan McLean) turns up ready to take her to a party. Well not just a party, but also Edinburgh, because special things await him there so Lauren must come too.

In between my making Daniel sound a bit selfish, we also have a tale to be told to Lauren through our wonderful time travelling cafe. Switching through the decades we are treated to 20s, 40s, 60s and 80s ensembles. Each of these has a group leader; Anne (Francesca Chaisson), Rosie (Mia Rista), Rosa (Michaela Blackburn) and Sarah (Amara Browning); and each performs a full solo laying out the path of decision for Jessica (and indeed us).

The solos are all excellent and performed with excellent choreographed numbers by the groups, but my favourite two would have to be the flapper styled Maybe This Time performed by Francesca, and Just A Housewife by Mrs Lovett herself Amara Browning. The latter is performed by her with such emotion that the die is cast in the audience just in time for the announcement of our part in proceedings. The audience is to select if Jessica goes or stays, and our cold hearted lot make the correct decision to send Daniel packing to bonny old Scotland on his tod.

The cast is uniformly excellent, with Lauren Moody and Ryan McLean just amazing in their lead roles. Once again applause to all involved in this show, this is not only a superb piece of theatre presented in a unique style, but also with the wonderful interactive element for the audience. It really was a special and fun show. Congratulations to absolutely everyone involved.


Performance reviewed: Sunday 25th May, 2015 (second show) at the Royal & Derngate (Underground), Northampton.

Café Crescendo was performed by the R&D Youth Theatre at the Royal & Derngate between Friday 22nd May and Sunday 24th May, 2015.

For further details about the Royal & Derngate visit their website at http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/

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