Tag Archives: Oli George Rew

[title of show]

[Title of Show]
★★★★

Above the Stag

Title of Show

[title of show]

Above the Stag

Reviewed – 15th February 2019

★★★★

 

“The format of the show is stuffed full of comic and satirical potential”

 

[title of show] charts the story of writer and composer Hunter and Jeff (Michael Vinsen and Jordan Fox respectively) trying to write a musical with their friends Susan (Natalie Williams) and Heidi (Kirby Hughes) for an upcoming festival and all the trials and tribulations that accompany it. The beautifully meta aspect of the show is that Hunter Bell and Jeff Bowen were actually the creatives behind [title of show], which is the musical they wrote for an upcoming festival – it’s at one point described as ‘a musical about two guys writing a musical about two guys writing a musical’. This provides a delicious sense of spontaneity to the way the action on stage unfolds, as all the characters are aware that they are in a musical that is being written – one character remarks that Susan has been very quiet during the scene, she responds that it’s because she didn’t have a line in the script until now. The format of the show is stuffed full of comic and satirical potential, and moments like this wring all its possibilities fully.

However, the show was originally written in 2004 and has been considerably successful, even making it to Broadway in 2008, and so the second act of the show – which charts the journey of the show following the festival – feels disjointed and not quite as polished as a result. The first act’s blend of snappy dialogue, clever commentary and engaging songs that are fully integrated with the plot and characters are in the second act replaced with a messier concoction that feels more like a play that drags out a contrived conflict between two characters and begrudgingly throws a song in every now and then until the final sequence.

Thankfully, the shortcomings in [title of show]’s writing in the latter half is made up for by stellar direction and performances throughout. Director Robert McWhir takes every opportunity to let the story and the characters shine through, ensuring that the weaker elements feel more fleshed out and that the comedy and pathos is given the full spotlight. His smart staging makes the relatively cosy space feel huge, giving the actors ample room to take advantage of – and they certainly do. Every single cast member delivers an imaginative and encapsulating performance, although Michael Vinsen is especially exemplary in the relatability, drive, and hilarity he brings to Hunter. The only shortfall is that – as the actors don’t have mics – if they are at the opposite end of the space, lyrics can occasionally be lost.

This is a shame, as the music and lyrics are often catchy and clever. Numbers such as ‘Monkeys and Playbills’, ‘Die, Vampire, Die!’, and ‘Nine People’s Favourite Thing’ are all gleefully inventive and, thanks to Oli George Rew’s expert accompaniment, feel vivid and characterful in their composition.

The sheer love of musical theatre and the process of creation that [title of show] displays will make you fall in love with it despite some missteps, and will have you leaving the theatre truly charmed, and a little more inspired in your own dreams and aspirations.

 

Reviewed by Tom Francis

Photography by PBG Studios

 


[Title of Show]

Above the Stag until 10th March

 

Last ten shows covered by this reviewer:
Welcome ..? | ★★★★ | Bridewell Theatre | October 2018
Brat Kids Carnival | ★★★½ | Christmas In Leicester Square | November 2018
Chutney | ★★★ | The Bunker | November 2018
Motherhood or Madness | ★★★ | Katzpace Studio Theatre | November 2018
Specky Ginger C*nt | ★★½ | Katzpace Studio Theatre | November 2018
Pinocchio | ★★ | The Albany Theatre | December 2018
Fight Night | ★★★★ | The Vaults | January 2019
Original Death Rabbit | ★★★★★ | Jermyn Street Theatre | January 2019
Black Is The Color Of My Voice | ★★★ | Trafalgar Studios | February 2019
Soul Sessions | ★★★★ | Trafalgar Studios | February 2019

 

Click here to see more of our latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com

 

H.R.Haitch – 4 Stars

Aitch

H.R.Haitch

Union Theatre

Reviewed – 14th May 2018

★★★★

“Never mind Harry and Meghan’s upcoming nuptials, Union Theatre, Southwark is hosting the Wedding of the Year!”

 

If your invitation to Harry and Meghan’s wedding has been lost in the post, there is an alternative being staged. No need to worry about paparazzi as the theatre is tucked away discreetly off Union Street in Southwark.

This new musical has a brilliantly witty script, although at times the storyline is predictable, it keeps you laughing from beginning to end. The songs by Luke Bateman are funny, original and are seamlessly weaved into the production. The actors are accompanied in song by a talented pianist (Oli George Rew) who is on set for the duration. There are so many great songs but to name a few stand outs … Tomorrow – Who Knows?, Bertie’s Love Song and Just Try Stopping Me.

The year is 2011, we have a new Prime Minister, the country is anticipating hosting the Olympics to be a disaster and the press is full of speculation about Prince Albert who has been in hiding for the last twenty years. The incredibly loveable Chelsea, played expertly by Tori Allen-Martin, has been dating the unassuming Bertie since their eyes met whilst boning a trout at catering college. Chelsea, fond of snapping “Chelfies” at every opportunity, has a deep hatred of the monarchy and a deep love for Bertie. As the speculation of who is Prince Albert mounts in the press, Bertie’s white lies get tangled and an amusing love story unfolds.

Prince Richard played by Christopher Lyne is highly entertaining as the hapless King in waiting desperately for Queen Mary to either pop her clogs or abdicate. Emily Jane Kerr is the crazed princess who will go to great lengths to secure her place on the throne.

This is a truly entertaining and unique piece of theatre that has you laughing out loud and hoping that the social media chav Chelsea becomes the next people’s princess. I would possibly lose the recurring “taxi” joke as the first time it was funny but by the fifth it was annoying.

Never mind Harry and Meghan’s upcoming nuptials, Union Theatre, Southwark is hosting the Wedding of the Year!

 

Reviewed by Angela East

Photography by Nick Rutter

 


H.R.Haitch

Union Theatre until 2nd June

 

Related
Previously reviewed at this venue
Carmen 1808 | ★★★★★ | February 2018
The Cherry Orchard | ★★★★ | March 2018
Twang!! | ★★★★ | April 2018

 

Click here to see more of our latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com