BWW Review: TOPSY TURVY 2: A TWISTED DISNEY CABARET Brings Joy to the Theatre Community in the Midst of a Pandemic
Many theatre communities in Vancouver and around the world have been hit hard by the recent COVID-19 pandemic. With theatres closed and productions cancelled, the Vancouver theatre scene has been nearly non-existent. Many theatre companies are turning to producing online content during this time. Actors and theatre workers are amongst those who have been struggling the most during this time and Fabulist Theatre in Vancouver has found a way to help those in need.
TOPSY TURVY 2: A TWISTED DISNEY CABARET is an online cabaret featuring a lineup of performers from Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. It is the sequel to Topsy Turvy: A Re-imagined Disney Cabaret that was put on the previous year. Originally planned to take place live on April 20th at the Havana Theatre in Vancouver, it was moved online and streamed on May 24th, 2020. You can watch the show on Facebook at https://bit.ly/3exaqBI or Youtube at https://youtu.be/ri-p4VKCj_Q for a limited time. Although the cabaret is free to watch, it will also be accepting donations for AFC's (formerly the Actors Fund of Canada) COVID Emergency Fund, which will specifically help Canadian entertainment professionals. Donations can be accepted at http://www.paypal.me/fabulisttheatre or http://www.afchelps.ca/topsyturvy.
The show featured the talents of many different people performing Disney related pieces. It was great to see how each performer decided to present their piece through video. Some went all out in costumes and props, while others took a more minimalist approach focusing in on the music. Although the cabaret was a bit longer for my liking, I appreciated the diversity in the performances that were shared. I loved how most of the songs that were sung were well-known allowing for many "sing-along" moments through the show.
Some of my favorite performances included Daren Dyhengco (Canadian abroad in the Philippines), Jaren Guerreiro (Canadian College of Performing Arts student), and Niki Kennedy (Randolph College of Perfoming Arts, International Recording Artist). Dyhenco started off the cabaret by singing "You'll Be In My Heart" from Tarzan. His voice was warm and you can tell that he was very passionate about his performance. Guerreiro did a Newsies montage as all of the characters in the musical. I really appreciated his editing and enthusiasm with his piece. Guerreiro showcased his dancing (especially his tap dancing) in his performance and ended his part with an iconic Newsies jump pose - I loved every minute of it! Kennedy sang I Won't Say (Text) I'm In Love from the beloved Disney movie Hercules alongside Kurt Werner (Ballet Kelowna). Her rendition of this song put a modern spin on the song that was perfect for the occasion. I love the expression she added to her song, which made it interesting to watch. A special performance from Vance Avery (Broadway's Cabaret, Pre-Broadway Hadestown, 1st Canadian Company of CATS/ Les Mis) was a great way to end the show. His vocals and passion in his performance ended the cabaret on a high note.
Overall TOPSY TURVY 2 was a great way to connect the theatre community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only did it feature performers from Vancouver, but also brought together people from around the world. Every performer featured in this cabaret should be proud of what they contributed to this overall performance, it was awesome to watch! TOPSY TURVY 2 can be viewed online on Facebook https://bit.ly/3exaqBI or on Youtube https://youtu.be/ri-p4VKCj_Q and donations will gladly be accepted at http://www.paypal.me/fabulisttheatre or http://www.afchelps.ca/topsyturvy. Fabulist Theatre and the cast of TOPSY TURVY 2 has raised over $1000 for the AFC's COVID Relief Fund so far!