Review: CUMTS Presents: The 24 Hour Musical

Riona Millar 15 January 2020

Every year, Cambridge University’s Musical Theatre Society convinces some of the finest of Cambridge’s composers, directors, lyricists and performers to forego sleep for a day, in order to create and cram together a musical – all in 24 hours.

Much like the preparation for the show, this review will be short and sweet. The 24 Hour Sketch Show functions in a similar way to a sketch show: a theme is decided upon, which this year was a New Year’s Eve party, and all are split into groups in order to produce a song around that theme. There were some really wonderful and refreshing takes on what could be a fairly simple show.

The format of guests at a New Year’s party introducing themselves in song form and running into past exes, a lovesong that could have been a metaphor or could have been a genuine lust for pyrotechnics, and some jazzy group numbers, all went down a treat with the cast. I lost my favourite pen while reviewing the main show, however, so this review will be an analysis of the songs that really stuck with me.

My absolute favourite, which was far more heartwarming than any song with so much peer pressure to drink has ever been, was the beautiful ‘New Year’s Eve’ – when you’re growing up, and your name is Eve, I guess you really do think that New Year’s Eve is just for you, and this song really resonated with me as a person who truly intends to form good habits at the start of every year, but is back to being totally useless by the fourth.

I also very much enjoyed the song about sober people at New Year, as I’m partaking in Dry January. Never have I eyed the ADC cocktails list with such longing… and the variety of sober types, as well as the nod to the importance of a designated driver, was wonderfully and humorously done.

“There were some really wonderful and refreshing takes on what could be a fairly simple show.”

“The Boys are Back” was great fun, with strong lad takes, the loss of trousers, a bit of Wonderwall (to ensnare the ladies?) and of course, that classic mid NYE-vomit.

Image credit: Belle Dileto

We also had a song from the perspective of the fireworks themselves, which was a really fun way to approach things, especially with the drastically differing personalities of the fireworks. Bring New Year’s in with a bang…?

Finally, it ended with a group number that mirrored the opening and a rousing chorus from the whole cast of Auld Lang Syne, which helped me shed the skin of last year far more than my own New Year’s Eve did.

Image credit: Belle Dileto

Of course, with only 24 hours to write the thing, let alone receive the parts and rehearse them, there were brief moments where people forgot the words – but the show must go on! And they recovered beautifully, carrying the moment forth and continuing unaffected. I was so impressed by the whole chaotic, messy, tanglingly sequential lot that I can only really sit back and wait for next year’s.

4.5 stars, because I lost my favourite pen. Oh, go on then, 5.