Wasted, Southwark Playhouse | Review

Southwark Playhouse 
Reviewed on Wednesday 12th 2018 by Olivia Mitchell

With a cast of just four, Wasted tells the story of the Brontë siblings and their journeys to success, and questions (to an extent) what makes a legacy and how fulfilment is achieved. Whilst there are some catchy songs and the cast do a good job conveying the struggles of 18th century women, Wasted is drawn out and somewhat uninformative.

The entire show has a tonne of potential and with tweaks could certainly be a coherent, enjoyable show. However, in it’s current state it feels somewhat self indulgent and the basic story (the girls struggle, eventually get published but feel they have Wasted their lives) is stretched unnecessarily to fill almost three hours. 

The cast are helmed by West End superstar, Natasha Barnes who has made a triumphant return to the stage after giving birth to a beautiful baby earlier this year. Working with Christopher Ash's demanding score, Natasha leads the show with faultless vocals and outstanding commitment to the level-headed, dreamer Charlotte Brontë.

As her brother who aims to be famous, Matthew Jacobs Morgan is suitably humourous but troubled. As her sisters, Emily and Anne, Siobhan Athwal and Molly Lynch give strong performances although at times it is hard to understand what is being said. This may be due to mics but does mean that it takes real attention to keep up with the story. 

Another issue is the amount of repetition. The first act especially feels like we hear the same thing over and over again; after the first 10 minutes it was clear the girls “need to work” but we were told several more times which instead of reinforcing something important, felt unnecessary and added to the length of the show dramatically. 

Wasted could easily have been performed as two separate shows. Both act one and act two have good starting and finishing points which would make for solid 90 minute straight-through shows but together just felt too much.

Despite it's flaws, it is wonderful to see such an experimental, new, British musical and the cast do an outstanding job of bringing a mischievous, fresh view of the Brontës.

Wasted runs at the Southwark Playhouse until 6th October

photo credit: Helen Maybanks

No comments