Love was certainly in the air in the Henry Mitchell Hall on St Valentine’s night as seven members of Paper Zoo Theatre Company gave us an unforgettable evening of music and words on the theme of love.
It was a night to fall in love with our treasured Henry Mitchell Hall, which had been lovingly festooned with Valentine themed decorations and the mood was set for a fantastic evening after the audience enjoyed what had been billed as a cheese/tapas supper, but could have more accurately been described as a Valentine’s feast. As the lights dimmed to bathe the hall in a rosy glow, the entertainment opened with a scene reminiscent of Love Actually when Dave Peel serenaded the audience from the balcony above.
The word ‘cabaret’ evokes images of the Fosse musical or predictable cruise-ship or Vegas numbers, but PZ offered a sophisticated and witty entertainment for Valentine’s Day to confound all expectations. This was not a saccharine sweet confection but an exploration of love in all its guises: from heartbroken to hilarious, inebriated, infatuated, lustful, loathing and lovesick. Forget schmaltzy romance this was something both authentic and intelligent.
None of the classic and contemporary songs, verses or prose were predictable choices, but all worked beautifully. The delivery of It Must Be Love and My Girl as a conversation was divine madness and an absolute joy. Darren Dutson-Bromley provided wonderful guitar accompaniment and every member of the company was nothing short of sensational.
With this perfect blend of old and new, and the stellar performances
from Ben Eagle, Martin Knowles, Damien O’Keeffe, Julia O’Keeffe, David
Peel, Kate Shackleton and Emily Thornton, PZ have reinvented the genre
and discovered a potential to adapt this format to other themes. If
they take up this challenge, once word has spread about the magic they
made on Valentine’s night, they will surely find an eager audience.
After such a delightful evening, only one conclusion was possible about
our feelings for the multi-talented Paper Zoo. It must be love …
You can see images from the show in our GALLERY
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