I find this review very difficult to reconcile with the show that we saw. Far from being clichéd stereotypes, these characters are pretty richly drawn. Each one will be recognisable to anyone who has been a Fresher – outwardly brash but inwardly uncertain. At a stage in their lives when finding “self” is one of the main achievements of education. Each one of these vulnerable characters presents a false self, whilst their true feelings are telling them to be something else. This isn’t Hamlet, but it certainly is “juvenile”.
A second weakness in this review is failing to mention that the score and the lyrics use a device to present this “duality” in a very clever way. One character speaks in the way that the external self would, whilst the other sings what their inner self is telling them. Its a delightful device, and one I am sure will appear in other musicals. Imitation being the highest form of flattery of course. Its so clever that you may want to see this show twice so that you can pick out the two counterpointed lines. It also leads to the effect that one half of the audience is laughing at the dialogue whilst the other is empathising with the lyric. Top quality stuff.
Finally, and least forgivable, is the failure of this review to mention the excellent cast and musicianship. The performers and MD are really first class. The cast bring out each of the characters with the deftness of much more experienced performers, and the infectious enthusiasm with which this show moves is down to a talented cast and sensitive direction. The show moves from funny to sad, joyous to anger – and the director and cast handle each with grace and skill.
Take it from me, and all of us who’d actually pay money to see this again and again – this review is just wrong. Get tickets whilst you can – they sell out every performance apparently. You’ll love it.
- Gail Bragg
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