A Theatre Novice Reviews 'NUTS x MTS Cabaret: Miscast'

by Divya Nandyal

Photography: Hennessey

Thursday 6 pm had me frantically googling the songs on the setlist for this year’s NUTS x MTS Cabaret, themed ‘Miscast’- as a novice to the world of theatre, (if you discount high school drama and that one time I went to the opera) I was nervous that my limited knowledge of the plots, characters, and songs in well-known musicals would leave me confused during this production. But my nerves were misplaced! This Cabaret swept me up into the whirlwind of music, dance, and acting, with delightful audience interactions, an immensely talented band and cast, subtle but immersive lighting (headed by Erin Golden and Emma Johns), and of course, the ever-so humble guiding hand of the night’s MC, Bonnie Ranger (for real, for real).  


The night began with Mel Brooks’ ‘Opening Night’ from Producers, where we were introduced to the absolutely electric cast, before a comic interlude from our MC, who reminded me so fiercely of Gabbi Bolt (aka @fettuccinefettuqueen on TikTok, known for heading the Ratatouille: the Musical). Truly, Bonnie’s magnetic personality and unwavering commitment to the bit was the highlight of the show for me - it brought together the string of seemingly unconnected numbers seamlessly. After (mis)announcing the next number as a groovy one, we were onto the bulk of the show, and the first of the many, many miscasts, with Nikolas Zielinski’s (who recently played Kurt Kelly, the gay quarterback in MTS ‘Heathers: the Musical’) beautiful, emotionally wrought rendition of ‘God Help the Outcasts’.  


The costuming throughout the show was excellent, but in particular, I’d like to commend Costume Designers Cinnamon Howearth and Anastasia Dougenis on Aaron Hamilton Gold’s drag transformations between Glinda in ‘Popular’, to the absolute pinnacle of masculinity in ‘What a Woman Wants’ from Kinky Boots to a stunning purple corset outfit in ‘The Ballad of Sara Berry’, and finally in the whole cast rendition of ‘Voulez-Vous’. His performance was captivating, especially as Glinda, charisma shone through, even as his wand malfunctioned, dropping sparkles, which he deftly kicked away without missing a beat or dropping his facade. 

Photography: Hennessey

The entire night was filled with humour- my hopes that the jokes would extend beyond the classic gender swaps were fulfilled completely, partly due to the impassioned performance of the cast, but also the visionary direction of Angus Crampton and Isobel Spies. I particularly enjoyed Sarah Gatley's jaw-dropping voice in ‘King Herod’s Song’, and her very entertaining dance break where she showcased her tapping abilities, Tamsyn Navra and Caitlin Beckwith’s gorgeous harmonies in ‘Agony’, ending with a queercoded passionate embrace, as well as Daniel Stevenson as LeFou in ‘Gaston’ and his flexing while standing behind Bonnie’s Gaston, serving as pseudo muscles. 


The cast’s suave, flirtatious interactions with the audience had me blushing and giggling, leaving my plus one and I arguing about which one of us Emily Boffa’s wink was directed towards (me, obviously), in ‘The World Will Remember Us’ from Bonnie and Clyde. This was supported expertly by the band, particularly Sophie Moir’s violin, conducted by Musical Director and drummer Nick Cranch, alongside Musical Director Lily Tindale. The band’s talents really shone through in the ensemble numbers, specifically ‘Voulez-Vous’, taking the incredible energy to a whole other level.  


This night was an amazing experience, leaving me in awe of the talented individuals involved in NUTS and MTS. I’m excited to watch MTS’ next production ‘Mother May’s’, running from October 17th-21st. And a little birdie tells me that NUTS will be staging Drunk Shakespeare soon- my eyes are peeled to see which of the Bard’s (it’s hard) plays they will choose! 

Divya is a 1st year Law/Commerce student! She dances and plays netball and violin. She joined Blitz to get involved in uni life and be a part of this really cool team of people!

Blitz Editor

Anandi Ganguly

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