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Five Alive! The Musical

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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The eponymous Five Alive were once America's greatest boy band, but now its members (or at least two of them) are washed up, reduced to hosting open-mic nights and looking back ruefully on the fame that ruined their teenage years. But when their recently deceased former manager leaves his fortune to whichever of his bands can score a number one single, it's time to get out the guitars and start writing new material.

George Lakis and Andy Emeritz's musical comedy is a likeable but slightly ramshackle affair. There's a clear feeling that the songs came first, and the story afterwards - indeed, the musical numbers are by far the best things about the show. The guys have great voices and use them to good effect in spot-on parodies of 80s song types, from the oh-so-sweet "Kiss You with Tongue" (with naively graphic lyrics) to the hilarious German electro pop of "Anything Between You and Mario Lopez is Insignificant" - which comes complete with a droll dance routine.

There's still a bit of work to do in getting scene changes and video projections slick and seamless, but it's a warm-hearted, affectionate show, sometimes silly, often hilarious.

- David Kettle


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