Bedecked in school uniform the Edinburgh University Footlights Showchoir are set to take the audience on a journey through their school days and beyond, with nods to many of the excruciating parts of growing up everyone is familiar with. It is a potentially safe theme – the only problem is it never really climbs above that which would be expected of a school level show.
There are strong artistes among the ensemble for sure and Footlights seem to be at their best when singing solo, in duets, or as trios. Less chaos on stage allows for individual voices to shine; particularly notable tonight: Hollie Avery, Harriet Masters, Clare Nolan and a quite beautiful rendition of ‘If I Could Tell Her’ by Mizra Kara and Tara McCullough.
At times though, there is just too much going on and the obvious talent becomes lost in the crowd. The programme offers the most ambitious project yet from the group; however one can’t help but feel that it is a little overly ambitious, and keeping it simpler might have made for a slicker performance. Oftentimes, for example, the entire cast are on stage performing dance steps which are beyond their capabilities as a whole. The idea of allowing everyone the opportunity to input to the choreography is commendable, but surely not if the result means a less than average showing. Fundamentals of time-keeping and musicality are all but invisible in these sections and those few who can dance have to fight to be seen amongst the melee on stage.
What is impressive is the 14-piece band, exquisitely directed by Musical Director and keyboard player, Jack Wood, which does add a more professional feel to proceedings.
If ever there was a performance group with potential this is it. A choreographer, a paring back of items and more focus on people’s strengths rather than their weaknesses would surely allow Footlights Showchoir to raise themselves from ‘could do better’ to ‘on course for an A’ on their report card.