Jennifer Osei-Mensah previews Live Music’s upcoming show at the Bloomsbury Theatre, Revolution.
Live Music’s annual Bloomsbury show is coming up next week: a musical spectacle of 21 numbers ranging from Bowie to Bieber to Black Sabbath. Revolution has been in the works since February 2018 and has a cast of 100, plus production team and crew. So how does a show this size come about? I sat down with the director, Björn Franke, and one of the producers, D’Arcy McGuinness, to find out.
Revolution was chosen as this year’s theme because, in D’Arcy’s words, it can be interpreted widely. The setlist is massively varied and deals with a wide range of emotions as well as themes of power, change, and strength, and its songs have been chosen because they honour revolutionary people and times in music. This year’s show aims to highlight the power that music can have, both on a personal level and a global one.
The process from idea to show has been a long, and at times exhausting, one. First, the production team must bid to the Live Music committee, and then go on to the Union panel. Then arrangers must apply and interview, and arrange the pieces over the summer. After these preliminary stages, the start of term is when things really kick off – the society advertises for the show in fresher’s week and the applications for musical directors come in, each one being interviewed and allocated a piece, and finally the team select a cast out of 200 auditionees. Such a massive production across such a long period of time inevitably sees some people drop out or have to change commitments, which Björn told me has been a real challenge. They assure me, however, that seeing their idea grow into a full-length show is worth all the graft.
So what can you expect from Revolution? Björn’s favourite number is the Black Sabbath medley – a collection of their greatest hits played by a simple rock band; D’Arcy’s is everyone’s teen favourite, I Predict A Riot. Other highlights include a completely acapella piece, and The Final Countdown. I’ve been assured there will be a range of costumes, from Freddie Mercury to frat-boy, a big set that is currently still being constructed, and maybe a cowbell? Intriguing. I couldn’t get more detail on this because, predictably, they both had to rush off to rehearsals.
Rhapsody will be at the Bloomsbury Theatre Thursday 24th to Saturday 26th January at 7.30pm. Tickets for UCL students are £6.50.