By Maia Steele

The University Dramatic Society’s 2024 original musical Back Inn Business ran from 23 – 25 May at the Centre of Performing Arts at All Saints’ College. Written and directed by student Tash Erbrich, the musical comedy was set in the run-down ‘Paradise Hotel’ and followed the characters’ attempt to revive their business whilst simultaneously saving a reality show. The cast and production consisted entirely of students, however, the audience in attendance were a variety of ages.

As I had previously attended their fantastic 2022 musical Latte Art, I had high expectations for this production, and I must say they did not disappoint. Immediately, the set design was so bright and fun it almost made it hard to believe the hotel was ‘run-down.’ The musical numbers themselves were super impressive visually, and the actual songs were on par with professional musicals I have watched. I loved the scenes where there was a TV screen on stage to mirror the reality show filming – this was an addition I had never seen done before.

The actual performance of each cast member in the show was excellent, I must say again that in terms of acting this musical was no different to professional productions. I have to especially mention and compliment the trios on stage, namely the producers and the tradies. These two groups had the audience laughing every time they were on stage and the actors played these supporting roles so well. Additionally, costume designer Una Minello did an amazing job, each character dressed in a way that reflected their personalities and even through costume changes I noticed the characters would be in similar colour schemes and silhouettes throughout the entire show.

My only critique of the musical was that some of the dialogue and comedy were a little cheesy and overdone in moments, particularly in the first act. For example, (controversially) I wasn’t a fan of the racoon puppets and some of the scenes with the hotel staff. I would have loved some of the exchanges to be slightly more organic and communicated in a more original way. Although I do believe many of the over-exaggeration and acting choices in the play were intentional by their respective actors.

Definitely keep an eye out for future projects from UDS, their Instagram is @uwadramasociety.

Supporting student-made art is always so important no matter the content – but UDS will always be reliable for a good laugh and in this case, songs you can’t get out of your head!

4/5 Pelicans

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *