Monkee Business - The Musical
But when put into a context of self-referential nonsense, where you're not too sure whether you are watching a pantomime, a musical or just a bad farce, it is a notion that needs to be taken right back to the drawing board.
Following the award-winning northern launch of Ghost the Musical, the Manchester Gets It First initiative had begun to build itself a respectable reputation. Unfortunately, after its latest addition the standard appears to have slipped.
The choreography is particularly weak, simplicity for once not being the key. Dancers are quite frequently out of time with one another, especially in the final scene of Act One, and they lack the energy that would give the show at least a few extra brownie points. The set, too, is nothing to write home about.
The singing, however, is strong. The boys playing The Monkees - Stephen Kirwan, Ben Evans, Tom Parsons and Oliver Savile - have certainly built up a very natural rapport that would work well if they weren't having to battle with a truly embarrassing script.
A highlight does come with Roxanne Palmer delivering a highly comedic performance as a stewardess. On the whole - bar moments of embarrassing over-acting - the ensemble do their best with the pitiful material they have been given.
While the idea is there, this is a real let down of a world premiere and needs to be taken back to the rehearsal room if it is to stand any chance of becoming "the business".
- Rebecca Cohen