Waking up with Obama on your mind? Me neither actually. Since the
almighty election fuss and the much hyped inauguration, the superhero
of American politics has disappeared rapidly from the British tabloids.
But never fear, Teddy Hayes is here, with his comedy musical homage to
the people behind the scenes: the weird and wonderful characters on the
Obama campaign trail. Having been workshoped at the Baron’s Court
Theatre Obama on My Mind now arrives in North London for its
world premiere where it goes clunkety, clunkety, clunk with some poor
directorial decisions and a worrying lack of storyline.
Uplifting and well choreographed as many of the songs are, there is
a lack of direction that runs throughout the musical, with characters
drifting about aimlessly like canapés at London Fashion Week, picking
up threads of storylines here and there amid the poppy solo songs and
comedy one liners.
The twelve strong cast are of varying levels of ability, with some
fine musical and acting talent (particularly strong in Nicholas Drake
and Ellen Verenieks) being let down by some severe over acting from
Jackie Skarvellis as the fanatical campaign connoisseur and a lack of
vocal power from Simone McIntyre in the title song. What the cast as a
whole do bring to the stage is a great sense of energy which does its
part to rescue the scattered script and leaves the audience with a
spring in its step, all be it a rather unsatisfied one given that no
one is quite sure just what they are springing from exactly.
Perhaps it is the workshop heritage of the piece, or perhaps it is
its ambitious reach, with every character getting a chance to spill
their heart over their election traumas, but in this case the promise
and sparkle of the musical overwhelm what is essentially an office
based comedy with a lot of loose ends.