Ever imagined, even in your wildest dreams, seeing Morticia Addams, Dorian Gray, and Romeo and Juliet all in the same place, at the same time? No? What if they were accompanied by wild dancing performances, amazing musical numbers and sketches that make you laugh so much that your stomach hurts? Then apparently, you have never been to A Night at the Theatre (ANATT).
If you have never even heard of ANATT (where have you been all this time?!), it is an event that features performances by more or less all the creative societies at Royal Holloway, varying from dance, drama, musical theatre, fashion, pole dancing and the works of some independent artists. It is an excellent way to spend an evening, leaving all your worries behind, while watching your fellow students express their creativity and passion on the stage. The programme consists of short performances and a little glimpse into the activities of each society, which is not only a big pleasure to watch, but gives you the chance to decide if you would like to join any of them – or all in my case.
This night gave me a lot of food for thought so I’ll try do a quick overview of what I loved and didn’t love from this amazing evening.
The highlight of the show was the choir. Honestly, listening to this performance will certainly change your understanding of what a choir should be. It was probably the best version of Taylor Swift’s’ Shake It Off I have ever heard. Their performance had a modern and unique approach to popular music, performed by young people full of energy and enthusiasm which can always put a smile on your face.
The few snippets of The Addams Family musical we were presented with were truly magical and captivating. The ensemble performance was especially good, as it fully embodied the spirit of the original film while adding a few quirky and comic elements. The impeccable acting of Emily Quillin in the role of Morticia Addams and the impressive singing abilities of all cast members, are enough to compel even the biggest musical theatre sceptics to see the show.
All theatre and art fans should definitely make it their mission to see Drama Society’s The Picture of Dorian Gray and Shakespeare Society’s A Midsummer’s Nightmare. It will surely be worth the watch considering the amazing few scenes we had the chance to see at ANATT. Of course, let’s not forget The Holloway Players, whose improvised performances are indescribable. I sincerely urge you to watch some of their weekly shows – just be prepared to fall off your chair from laughing!
On a more critical note, I think there is some more work to be done in regards to both the Dance Society and Salsa Society performances. While the passion, effort and skill being put into the choreography are prominent, the synchronisation and stage presence of their dancers requires some improvement as the term goes on. It must be said that it is impressive, having only had a few rehearsals, that either society managed to perform at all. I look forward to seeing future performances from them both regardless.
I’d like to give a special mention the Pole Dancing society, whose performance, accompanied by Halsey’s Gasoline was fascinating and certainly captured the attention of the audience.
The Fashion Society show ‘Fashion in Film’, presented us with modern and wearable outfits, inspired by some of our favourite films such as Clueless and Kill Bill. However, the important thing is that, behind all of those items of clothing, stands the idea that all women are beautiful regardless of their race, body shape or size, which is a great message of empowerment for young women.
Overall, ANATT 2018 is an unforgettable experience, not only because of the catchy music and fun dance numbers or the great acting and glamorous outfits, but because of all those people who have organised and took part in it. Their enthusiasm and passion for a project that not only enriches life on campus but shows a different, more optimistic point of view of the world around us is truly exceptional. Shows like this one makes us believe that life can be extremely beautiful and colourful, despite our daily struggles.
Needless to say, I went home with a bunch of catchy songs in my head and happiness in my heart.
ANATT is on in the SU Main Hall on 21 October and 22 October. Doors open at 6:30pm and tickets are available here.