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Review: We Belong by Bare Productions

⭐⭐⭐⭐

We Belong by Bare Productions is 90 minutes of welcoming, invigorating, and dazzling concert with undeniable highlights, each one met with giddy, cackling applause. Rory McKeon seductively and appropriately opens the show with ‘Willkommen’ from Cabaret. The ensemble mounts the stage as ‘Moulin Rouge’ comes to an end to perform a flawless rendition of the brilliant ‘Both Reached for the Gun’ from Chicago, which is doubtlessly one of the highlights of We Belong. The eye is drawn in two directions: firstly, the irresistibly chic, ravishing figure in drag (Alex Singh) wearing a camel trench coat, a silk headscarf, dark glasses, and glittery stilettos; and secondly, the silver sequins and pearls wrapped around the perfect, seamless marionette Stacey Scott.

The ensemble of cast performing 'Both Reached for the Gun'. An actor is surrounded by other actors as she poses at the centre.
Cast performs Chicago in We Belong. Image Courtesy of Bare Productions.

The rabble rushes off stage and a lone figure, David Doherty approaches. He humbly and vulnerably performs ‘Being Alive’ from Company in a polka dot bow tie. Doherty’s earnestness is disarming. This scene transitions, with an amusing abruptness that brings new meaning to the non-sequitur, into Zoe Brookes’ ‘Don’t Rain on My Parade’ from Funny Girl. Presumably, “Mr Arnstein” was driven away, tail between his legs, by the sheer fantastic force of Brookes’ voice and her combination of relentlessness and gentle naivety. ‘Come Alive’ from The Greatest Showman is questionable in the hands of Hugh Jackman, however, in the hands of the Bare Productions ensemble it is euphoric. Any person who cannot find joy in sparkling performers in ecstatic choreographed unison is no friend of the Cabaret.

Zoe Brookes, who performs 'Don't Rain on My Parade' in We Belong, strikes a pose.
Zoe Brookes, performing in We Belong. Image Courtesy of Bare Productions.

At this point, the audience is welcomed to a ‘witchy’ interlude with ‘I Put a Spell on You’ followed by ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls’ from The Little Mermaid with Rachael Anderson playing the hilariously judgemental Scottish Ursula who sneers at the approaching deluded Gaston played by McKeon. Who should be there to delude him, but the nervously homoerotic, adoringly needy, Greg McCafferty-Thomson with ‘Gaston’ from Belle. ‘Bend and Snap’ from Legally Blonde showed off the skill, comic timing and inescapable talent of the ensemble. The vocal performance in ‘You Will be Found’ from Dear Evan Hansen is breathtaking and Darren Johnson is raw and moving as the healing Evan Hansen. The whole ensemble now performs ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ which displays each member’s strength in unison making each more impressive.

Overall, the choreography and the performers are consistently executed with expertise, only occasionally a few lesser numbers pale in comparison with the high standard Bare Productions set for themselves in their triumphant highs.

We Belong by Bare Productions runs from 27 to 29 January 2022 at The Three Sisters.

Image: Poster /Banner of We Belong, Courtesy of Bare Productions