Number 9 Review Titanic
12th July 2019
If you are like me, and utterly amazed by the notion of a musical about the legendary ship crossing, don't worry it's not what you think. No, James Cameron has not got into song writing, and in fact I would argue the film of the same name is a step down from its musical counterpart.
By now everyone knows the story of Leo, Kate, and the door that could have fit them both (I'm not bitter). However the musical based in Kingswood School and lovingly crafted by Zenith Youth Theatre tells a story no-one was ready for. Opening to a full audience, the cast (aged between 13 - 21) held each and every note with confidence. The story takes place over the duration of the Titanic's maiden voyage, creating and building on the class divide between the first class and third class passengers. Throughout both acts we see not only the determination of the lower class to start afresh in America while the rich plan their holidays, but we also see the crew. From everyone to the radio operator to the men shovelling coal to run the ship, we are treated to everything behind the scenes. Titanic the Musical brings attention especially to the bridge and the control room, showing us just how decisions were made and telegrams were sent. It's something we Titanic fans didn't know we needed.
The set itself needs a mention first as a pure feat of engineering skill. Starting as the front of the ship, the Titanic then opens her helm to reveal the full two deck setting. With a large open space at the bottom under the walkway above, the set swiftly revolves between the dining room, the saloon, and the lower floor cabins.
For such a young cast, it's easy to forgive anything that may happen such as lines or wrong notes, but I was left impressed by the level of professionalism each one of these young performers held with them. I found myself having to remember these kids were not professionals just yet. As a whole, the cast flowed smoothly and their ensemble notes filled the theatre with such a powerful feeling that one might be forgiven for shedding a tear towards the end.
While the cast were beautiful and seamless, faces still came out to truly etch themselves in my brain. Captain Smith (George Miles) and Thomas Andrews (Marcus May) are faces I expect to see again in the future on an even bigger stage. Miles and May both brought a three dimensional quality to their characters, and to May for bringing an audience to tears during a heart felt breakdown over the future of his beloved creation and his vision for the next ship.
John Bean and Hayden Betts are also two cast members to congratulate for this too. During their duet in which Bean sends a proposal across the ocean to his beloved with the help of Betts' Barrett in the radio room. It's hard to believe this is Betts' first show with Zenith, and here's hoping it's not his last.
Now, there's a spoiler warning for those who have been living on another planet over a century, but the Titanic sank while at sea. Well, why is this important you may ask? That's because Zenith do an amazing job of bringing history into the production. Ever wondered how many fresh eggs were on board, or how many of the passengers were honeymooning? Well they've got that information and it's brought our in such a beautiful and respectful way. The passengers who lost their lives on the real Titanic are also commemorated by way of a 'rolling credits' at the end. A fitting tribute for such a beautiful and emotional ending.
Overall the show is beautiful and touching. These performers should be so proud and I wish I could have mentioned each and every one of them by name but sadly we don't have an essay worth of words to explain how talented these kids are.
Titanic The Musical is on in Kingswood Theatre in Bath until the 13th. It's worth every penny and it's full of earworms you won't be forgetting any time soon. Congratulations Zenith Youth Theatre, you have out-done any expectation I walked in with.
Reviewer - Aidan Bungey
on - 10/7/19