27, Cockpit Theatre | Review

Sunday 25 September 2016

A New Musical: 27
Cockpit Theatre
Reviewed on Saturday 24th September 2016 by Olivia Mitchell

Those that know me know that I love to talk, and I am not one for being speechless. The new musical 27 changed that completely. Despite all the hype on social media, I actually had no idea what the show was about so when act one started I was a little apprehensive. By the time the interval rolled around I was in a state of complete shock and at a loss for words. This show is new, fast paced, sexy, beautiful, dramatic and absolutely like nothing I've ever seen before.

I really don't want to give a lot away about the storyline as I think its certainly best to go in blind and be completely shocked, but as the poster says: this story is "the rise of a falling star". We follow Orpheus as he is plucked from obscurity and thrown into the crazy world of sex, drugs and rock and roll. The lines between reality and fantasy are blurred as we are delivered a twisted fable about the price of fame.  The story draws strong inspiration from Greek mythology but is modernised to really captivate the audience.

The score is contemporary, with complex melodies and a wide variety of styles. Every vocal performance was outstanding. We were fortunate enough to see the writer and co-director Sam Cassidy perform his own creation and he was truly mesmerising as the falling Orpheus. The three Fates who narrate the story were exceptional with smooth harmonies and crazy moments of belting and riffing. Ryan Molloy was fabulous as the eccentric music mogul, Hades and really brought an old school rock vibe to the performance. Jack Donnelly and Ryan Gibb as fellow bandmates Max and Jason respectively gave touching performances and it was great to see their character development. Cassie Compton was a standout as the loyal girlfriend, performing a particularly striking ballad at the end of the first act. Lucy Martin was also wonderful as the alluring viper Miss M with not only fabulous singing but wonderful acting too, really embodying the instability of the character.

The choreography is sharp and slicing, with each performer executing every move feverishly and seductively. Every cast member commits fully to the distorted roles they're playing making it a true feast for the eyes. I found myself not knowing where to look as every part of the performance space was filled with something enticing and exciting. Nick Eve's concert-esque lighting is striking, creating a sharp but dark and shadowy world. Moments of complete darkness create an uneasy feeling and really pull you to the edge of your seat. 

I found no faults with this show which is certainly rare for me. Everything is thought out and executed wonderfully with a number of home truths and morals dotted in to leave you thinking long after the final bows are taken. Particularly poignant was the idea that we, as humans, find a weird and sick pleasure in watching others destroy themselves. We see headlines of stars being checked into rehabs and instead of stopping and thinking about their health and their families and friends, we have an urge to delve deeper in and create a sort of romaticised mystery about them. Its these chilling realisations that had me watching with rapt attention throughout, only looking away to glance at fellow audience members reactions.

This is truly a fantastic and innovative production and is certainly the best piece of theatre I have seen in a long time, if not ever! Cassidy has created a fresh, fearless and fantastical production and is rewiring typical theatre. I'm completely on board with this poignant production and am rooting from this moment forth for it to have a West End transfer and the success it deserves!

27 is running at the Cockpit Theatre until October 22nd 2016