Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Alex Musgrave. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Alex Musgrave. Sort by date Show all posts

Saturday, 6 July 2019

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 

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens, Union Theatre | Review


Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens
Union Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 21st May 2019 by Shaun Dicks
★★

An elegy by definition is ‘a poem of serious reflection, typically a lament for the dead’. An elegy is there to express feelings of something or someone you have lost. So, here we follow the elegies of those who have passed due to HIV/AIDS, all those Angels, Punks and Raging Queens.

The show, with book and lyrics by Bill Russell and music by Janet Hood is fantastic. Russell’s speech is so poetic and lyrical. The colour within phrases and sentences is just magical. There is so much juicy dialogue to enjoy. And Hood’s music is just so beautiful, the amount of emotion within her score is tear jerking alone. The music, book and lyrics deliver stellar material about a very delicate subject.

However, in this production of Angels Punks and Raging Queens, the material is mismanaged. First, the cast is simply too large. With sixteen cast members, the stage was cluttered and honestly half of them didn’t make their mark and faded into the background. The show would’ve been effective with half the cast. There were some standouts like Marcus Ayton as Lamar/Miles, Calum Gulvin as Nick/Paul, Jackie Pulford as Rebecca/Joanne, Fraser Leigh Green as Ray/Joe and Rhys Taylor as Dwight/Roscoe. These five actors truly understood the lyrical essence of the material they we given and delivered it well.


Despite its potential to be great, what let this show down was Bryan Hodgson’s staging. It felt clunky and disjointed, almost like a bad drama school showcase. However, one saving grace for this show was the vocals. The harmonies were well rehearsed and well done, a credit to musical director Henry Brennan. The light design by Alex Musgrave was another positive.

What made up for all the bad within the show was the striking final image. The emotion that you feel and that I felt at the end of the show made sure that the show was better than disappointing. However, one moment doesn’t make a show. It’s a shame because this show had all the potential to be fantastic, but the material was, in my opinion, interpreted wrongly and overall missed the mark.

Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens runs at the Union Theatre until 8th June 2019

photo credit: Mark Senior