[title of show] review – ‘a theatre kid’s wet dream’

★★★★by Ifan Llewelyn

Musical theatre is one of those things that if you’re into it, then you’re really damn into it. If you’ve ever trolled through the comment sections on Broadway.com then you know the unbridled enthusiasm and pure fanaticism that a specific group of people have for an all singing all dancing production. If you’re one of those who wet the seat when hearing the first chords of Wicked’s  ‘For Good’ then [title of show] is most definitely for you.

With an upcoming deadline for a musical theatre festival looming, web designer Jeff (Jordan Fox) and temp Hunter (Michael Vinsen) wrestle with empty pages to try and create Broadway’s next Tony-snatching success, only to channel that struggle into making it the premise for their show. Sassy side-kick Susan (Natalie Williams) is on hand to give advice, with Broadway actress Heidi (Kirby Hughes) just along for the ride. This whistle-stop tour of the fledgeling days of a new musical gives you everything you want at a night of Broadway gyrating. A powerful ballad about vampires? Check. Bad cockney accents? Check. A steamy shirtless scene? Check!

A musical written about writing a musical, as is expected things get meta. The company leans into how corny the show is, really milking those silly wink wink nudge nudge moments to the audience. You know how in some movies they say the title of it really dramatically in the actual film? Well, this production was that turned into an entire show, and we were so on board. As the shy yet stubborn composer, Fox brought a fully realised character to stage, living as Hunter yet still having a little fun to it. Where there’s a very confusing relationship between actor, character and character performing in a musical he kept it real which allowed the Laurel to his Hardy, Vinsel, to play the overzealous writer. An honourable mention has to be made for Williams who really brought a June Diane Raphael/Busy Philipsy energy to her role as the theatrically-frustrated office worker.

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Though some distinctly American references fall on deaf British ears, this is a delightful evening that serves up off-Broadway enthusiasm in bucketfuls. Though openly declaring to rather be ‘nine people’s favourite thing, rather than a hundred people’s ninth favourite thing’, this production is sure to be the absolute favourite thing you’ve seen this month. It’s a theatre kid’s wet dream.

[title of show] is running at Above the Stag Theatre (Studio), 72 Albert Embankment SE1 7TP until the 10th of March. For your tickets CLICK HERE.

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