Fiver, Southwark Playhouse | Review


Fiver
Southwark Playhouse
Reviewed on Friday 5th July 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

New British musical by Alex James Ellison and Tom Lees, Fiver follows a humble five pound note as it passes through the hands and pockets of various people in London. Rarely noticed by the person, we see that the fiver is often present in significant life moments. The show is constructed through a series of diverse musical vignettes which explore relationships, struggles, life, love and money.

Watching Fiver is like watching a rom-com, drama, thriller, romance unfurl live in front of your eyes. The intricately woven story is cinematic but intimate at once and really enthrals from start to finish and shows just how the value of a fiver can considerably change under the circumstances it's either given or received in. 

Alex James Ellison and Tom Lees have constructed a musically lush score which is not only highly entertaining, but superbly detailed and sophisticated. Featuring a variety of musical influences, each piece is utterly entertaining and engaging. The diverse characters are explored through the twenty-four assorted musical numbers. Each and every song is fantastically composed and the lyrical and musical mastery of Alex and Tom is clear throughout.

This pure delight of a musical is made all the more wonderful by its top notch cast. All playing a number of characters, the five (!) strong cast give masterclasses in characterisation and versatility. Luke Bayer gives poignant and vocally strong performances throughout. Whilst, Dan Buckley shines in both quieter and more booming moments, giving a particularly touching performance during the sweet proposal scene. 


Aoife Clesham gives a star is born performance as she leads a number of songs and is especially brilliant during the "surprise" party scene where she brings a whole host of characters to life, and also in Press Hash To Rerecord which is a hugely humourous situation that I'm sure many audience members can relate to (though perhaps not quite to Aoife's level). Multi-talented Alex James Ellison acts as a somewhat omnipresent narrator who oversees proceedings as the busker who puts the fiver into circulation. His fast diction, cheeky personality and dynamic stage presence bring the show to life and put a smile on your face.

Hiba Elchikhe's beautifully toned voice soars in her electric performance and her adaptability is ever clear through her many characters and emotions. Through their solo moments, duets, trios, quartets and quintets, this cast bring every second of Fiver to life and create a truthful, resonant and truly admirable show.

With Justin Williams' simple but effective set which features a magical cupboard that adapts for each scene, Alex Musgrave's homely, atmospheric lighting and the fantastic band led by Tom Lees, Fiver really provides everything you could wish for in a new, British, contemporary, relevant musical.

A two hour delight, I predict that this Fiver’s Destiny is huge success and an incredible future of magnificent story telling. Go see this show, tell all your friends to see it and make Fiver the hit it deserves to be!

Fiver runs at the Southwark Playhouse until 20th July 2019

photo credit: Danny Kaan 

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