Arts Review: They Heard Me Singing

STaG, The Poetry Club, 12th November

They Heard Me Singing is a one off performance from members of STaG combining theatre, dance and song to celebrate music and the way it informs different aspects of our lives.

Opening with voices intoning “Can you sing? Can you dance?” that build into a babble of noise, the shows consists of a series of sketches, songs and monologues. From this intentionally confusing beginning, the cast reflect on the role music plays on all our lives.

Highlights include Nadia Mehab Carveth’s stunning solo version of Etta James’ ‘At Last’, a brilliant and unexpected dance routine set to Coolio’s ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ and a musical tour of Glasgow from the Barras to Viper delivered as a series of breathless vignettes from a night on the town.

You’re unlikely to empathise with every sketch (most of us have probably never used music to draw someone out of a coma) but it’s highly likely music has touched your life in some way and it is this bond between individuals and the soundtracks to their lives that They Heard Me Singing is good at teasing out.

One section sees projected visuals featuring creepy dolls backing strange vocal chants and dancing reminiscent of demonic possession, but the comic high point comes in the form of  a relationship charted through bursts of popular songs, moving from “hello, is it me you’re looking for?” through the a rapid romance of ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’, the ensuing rows ‘It’s Not Fair’ and then a final bitter “we are never ever ever getting back together”, all delivered with great charm. If recorded it would be an inevitable Youtube sensation.

After the main show several of the stars return to the stage to deliver performances of classic jazz and rock‘n’roll songs before turning over to Flying Penguins, the supremely talented Hannah Jackson and the eminently good natured These Wooden Bones for short sets.

They Heard Me Singing is a real delight of an evening and a tribute to the talent and efforts of the ensemble cast who put it together in just three weeks.

[Max Sefton – @MaxSefton]

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