Scandalous suburbia is the setting for
a promising new musical comedy. Swing! serves up a
trio of yummy mummies swooning over their tennis coach, a
over-friendly school teacher and teenage crushes aplenty. The central
concept of a middle-class musical with its references to John Lewis
is inspired. But satirical opportunities are missed and the
characters not clearly enough defined for something so evidently
With an oversized cast of 12 playing 15
named characters, the plot is too complex for a 75-minute romp.
Negligible character development affects audience engagement, and the
strong, enthusiastic cast have to ham it skywards to keep up the
At the heart of the problems may be the
dangerous creative situation where the writer of the script has also
composed the lyrics, music and is even directing. The scribe in
question (Lauren Bensted) has a bright future but not in all of
these areas: the theatrical polymath is a rare breed.
Most perplexing of all, the five piece
band has a conductor. Not someone at a keyboard nodding their head at
appropriate cues, but a guy on a raised stool waving a pen. Five
Guys Named Moe at the gigantic McEwan Hall doesn't even
have a conductor.
The climax of the production involves
exactly that: the entire cast watching a video of the local tennis
champion reaching the heights of onanistic pleasure. Yet a lot of
people staring at a video, which the audience – thankfully - don't
see, is not remotely theatrical and a bit of a damp conclusion. This show may have balls, but it's not a smash.