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Spinach (Manchester)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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Compassionate journalist Kate (Jenny Platt) and chemist/dateless wonder Tom (David Hunter) wake tied together and without memory. An unlikely romance blossoms as they try to determine the origins of their predicament.
All of the dialogue in Spinach is set to music by Simon Waters. This might sound like a gimmick but actually works really well. The chemistry between Platt and Hunter as the bickering mis-matched couple is reflected in a jaunty, romantic piano. However, the conspiracy theory in which they are enmeshed by writer/director Janine Waters needs a more melodramatic sound.

She also builds in elements of social concern that leads to the only song that that could stand-alone from the play. This is a dance number in which a marvellously straight -faced Liz Singleton and Craig Whittaker make clear society’s indifference to those in need. All of the cast sing well although Hunter and Whittaker occasionally seem to be reaching outside their range.

Director Waters opens up the action of the play and feeds the audience enough clues to build to a credible conclusion despite the inevitable scene in which the villain spells out his plot. Strangely, however, there is a lack of concern in the actual climax that seems rushed.

- Dave Cunningham


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