Review: 'True Colors' showcases freshman talent

The Newtonite

by Leah Budson
Freshman Cabaret’s performance of “True Colors” echoes its title by showcasing the acting, singing and dancing talent of each cast member.
Going up today and tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium, “True Colors” is delightful from beginning to end. The cast shows its versatility throughout the night in scenes, songs and dances.


The excellent choice of scenes, most of which are written by acting director sophomore Elena Rodriguez, garnered laughter from the audience. The scenes explored unique relationships between characters, finding humor in everything from a car accident to a business meeting.
In the scenes, the actors convey the essence of their characters without making them ridiculous or overdone, their subtlety and confidence adding to the natural humor of the pieces.
“Bear-ly Holding On” by Rodriguez is an example of this talent. The skit features Julia Ansolabehere, Jonathan Minkin and Aaron Schwartz as three bears. In this witty piece, Ansolabehere, Minkin and Schwartz discuss their qualms about bears’ portrayal in the world, mentioning their anger at the inaccurately playful portrayal of bears in products such as Build-A-Bear and Carebear.
Where the three actors could have taken the piece too far by attempting to seem bearlike or forcing the comedy of the piece, they instead use subtlety, delivering their lines naturally despite the ridiculousness of their conversation.
Many of the pieces draw clever parallels between different parts of life, such as in “I Siri-ously Love You” by Rodriguez. The scene shows a couples counseling therapy group, cleverly comparing one man’s romance with Siri to the relationship of a married couple.
Jackson Bunis, Jen Gately, Ethan Penny and Katherine Zhou truly embody their characters in the skit, allowing the audience to forget that they are watching actors and instead feel as if they are seeing an actual therapy session, albeit an unusual one.


In “True Colors,” many of the songs combine acting and singing instead of focusing only on one. While featuring powerful singing, cast members use their movement and expressions to show their characters’ emotions, making the pieces more interesting to the audience.
One example of this trend is in Jackson Bunis and Rowan Morrissey’s rendition of “My New Philosophy” from “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown the Musical.” Beginning with a dialogue that establishes the characters’ relationship, the actors remain in character throughout the song, truly combining singing and acting. Morrissey’s performance is particularly impressive, the bubbly, naive nature of her character evident not only in her singing, but also in the way she bounces around the stage.
A similarly impressive display of emotion is evident in the performance of “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse, one of the best pieces of the night. All the female singers of the cast perform this piece, their beautiful voices overlapping in powerful harmonies. Although the piece is upbeat and overall cheerful, soloists such as Jen Gately and Claire McEwen evoke bittersweet emotions, reminding the audience of the song’s wistful nature.
Swabira Mayanja and Ethan Smith also convey a bittersweet emotion in their rendition of “Don’t Do Sadness/Blue Wind” from “Spring Awakening.” Mayanja’s voice is unbelievably beautiful. Its deep, powerful texture rings throughout the auditorium and leaves a lasting echo in the audience’s hearts.


In Freshman Cabaret, all four of the dance numbers display impressive synchronization and fluidity of movement.
The “Jazz Dance” begins dramatically with silhouettes against blue lights and features dancers leaping impressively and performing splits in mid-air.
A Freshman Cabaret tradition, the “Boys’ Dance” lives up to its standard as one of the most amusing performances of the night. One of the highlights of the piece is when, one by one, each boy takes center stage, showing some of their own dance moves. Particularly impressive is Henry Rolfe’s aerials.
Whether one wants to see “True Colors” for the incredible comedic acting, remarkably powerful singing or the fluid and exciting dancing, it is definitely a performance worth watching.
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