[ Title of Show ]
Moors Bar Theatre
Reviewed – 7th August 2019
“This play does carry a strong message, which director Eleanor Felton expertly highlights”
The Camden Fringe promotes itself as a chance to see edgy, experimental and brand new theatre. To be invited to see a show called [ title of show ] therefore didn’t raise much of an eyebrow, although I do wonder how many people bypass the play due to the ambiguity of the title. I however was intrigued and turned up with an open mind, an open notebook and a slightly puzzled expression on my face.
It turns out that this is the story of Jeff, Heidi, Hunter and Susan, writing a musical about Jeff, Heidi, Hunter and Susan. They give themselves three and a half weeks to write a script and submit it to a festival with the ultimate hope that it might be a hit and end up on Broadway. Not having a specific idea for a plot, they sit down to write the first things that come into their heads and to document for inclusion, all conversations that they hold.
The small, square stage was decorated by four simple, wooden chairs. These were well used and effortlessly moved around. The simple lighting was used to good effect.
An original idea for a script, a lot of the obvious gags were used early on and the dialogue did at times become a little repetitive, although many of the ‘under the breath’ quips were very nicely done particularly by Susan. Writing can be a tortuous, lonely task and watching people struggling for ideas to move their piece on, didn’t always make for the most compulsive viewing, despite us being told that ‘Writing should be as easy as a monkey driving a speedboat’!.
But this is a musical and any show from this genre will live or die by its musical numbers. Fortunately, the four strong cast (William Tippery, Charlotte Denton, Kieran Parrott and Alyssa LeClair) are all blessed with equally strong singing voices, the harmonies were a highlight and filled the room with the most gorgeous sounds, all under the expert accompaniment of Robert Hazle who was so skilled, that at times you never even noticed his on-point playing.
Highlights, were the opening number “No Title”, the delightful “Stuck In A Role Playing Me” the cleverly written and well delivered “Who Is Heidi, Who Is Susan” and the amusing “Unwanted Photo-Shoot”. Oddly, my only real issue with the music was the finale. A cracking, uplifting number was belted out and drew whoops and applause, only to be followed by a downbeat, final number which took the wind a little out of the sails.
The show ran out of steam a little in its final third, “I want to have substance. not fluff” one of the actors cried, a small amount of editing and a little more substance would in my opinion, help the show to roll along at a better pace.
I have to mention the ‘Relaxed Performance’ that this company are putting on this Friday afternoon for adults or young adults with autism or complex sensory needs. A lovely idea and I wish them every success with this venture.
This play does carry a strong message, which director Eleanor Felton expertly highlights. Be inspired to take a risk and do the thing that you’ve been wanting to do, do it for three weeks and then show somebody. You may have a gem?
Thank you Plan Z Theatre for an interesting evening, if anybody wants me, I’ll be available in three weeks time…
Reviewed by Chris White
Pictures by Joel M Photography
[ Title of Show ]
Moors Bar until 10th August as part of Camden Fringe 2019
Previous shows covered by this reviewer: