The Arcadians is an amateur musical theatre group founded in 1971. The members produce two musicals each year at The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham. They also raise funds for local good causes.
Loosely based on the story of Faust (Faust being the lead character of a German legend who makes a pact with the Devil and trades his soul for ‘knowledge and worldly pleasures’) Disco Inferno is a modern style musical set in ’76. The show features memorable songs of the 1970s era, including the well-loved Boogie Nights, I Will Survive, Disco Inferno and Hot Stuff.
Working late in a London nightclub, Disco Inferno, Jack (Lee Powell) meets Lady Marmalade (Michelle Burgess) - a femme fatale and associate of the Devil himself. Dreaming of success, Jack makes a pact with Lady Marmalade and trades his soul to fulfil his wildest imaginations.
Jack soon becomes an international success, making appearances on radio and TV, but he soon finds his success insignificant - having finally found the fame and fortune he dreamed of but losing the love of his loyal girlfriend, Jane (Sarah Corden). As his situation worsens, Jack wishes only to get his life back to the way it used to be and looks to trade all he has for the love of his life.
With a dazzling starlight backdrop and lots of crazy 70s style costumes, the show opens with a big fun dance routine to Kool and the Gang’s Celebration. The show then steams ahead with disco hit after hit.
Rock star and nightclub singer Heathcliff is played with passion by Daniel Guzman who performs a fabulous Ballroom Blitz, complimenting Kai McNamee’s very sexy vocals as Tom and a handsome and stage-confident Jack.
Highlights of the evening for me included the red spandex’d Lady Marmalade’s Hot Stuff song n’ dance routine and the very funny Back Row of the Movies sequence including plenty of popcorn, hand jiving and velvety harmonies performed delightfully well by the cast.
In contrast to the nasty Heathcliffe is a firm favourite of mine in Terry the DJ (Derek Harker) who was dressed in some of the most entertaining outfits and wigs of the night, especially in the Village People medley. Tom and Jack’s arrival on a purple chopper was also most amusing, as was the Beatles song title sketch which was presented with some lovely comedy timing and worked very well with the audience. Great casting of nightclub owner, Duke (Steve Halfyard) and consultant Nicky Diablo (Eleanor Hewer), along with Kathy (Gemma Lee) and Maggie (Abigail Underwood) makes this a fun show packed with well-played and arranged music and disco dancin’ divas, typical of the era. But most importantly it’s a show that demonstrates a lot of love, camaraderie and enjoyment on stage, which is exactly what amateur dramatics is all about.
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