This is terrific stuff. This sci fi musical has so many nods to Dear Evan Hansen, Little Shop Of Horrors, Spring Awakening and Rent, yet somehow retains its own quirky individuality mainly because of its bonkers plot and excellent score.
Set in a New Jersey High School, Grease this is not and some of the mild adult themes from the opening onwards are not for the faint hearted, and yet in the hands of such a brilliant Production Team, although totally on the knuckle, is not shockingly distasteful either.
Loner shy and awkward Jeremy is tempted to become the coolest guy in school if only he will pay 400 dollars for a squib pill which in a Matrix world domination Dr Who type way allows download of ‘cool’.
Will Fieldhouse totally inhabits the character of Jeremy. From pulling sleeves over his hands, stance and gait, this totally talented actor finds depth and warmth which carries you along at breakneck speed, willing a sane happy conclusion. His singing and diction throughout were impeccable.
More than just his equal was Ellen Goghin, his object of desire as Christine, who sizzled in her role finding great feeling and believability. Her songs were particularly well sung and animated.
As best friend Michael, Ed Patience took his character to an excellent level of quality: his gaming song with Will and his 2nd Act solo in the bathroom being particularly good. His scenes with Felix Stevens as Jeremy’s Dad were so well performed, Felix totally understanding his role throughout.
Comedy came in the Pink Ladies like trio of Rhiannon Morgan, Beth Mitchell and Hannah Maskell, who were clearly having a ball with their gift of a script. Their performance in ‘The Smartphone Hour’ song was a masterclass of comic timing and breathing. Guila Mubeen as teacher Ms Reyes also added her own brand of manic humour to this talented mix.
Kenny Adegbola and Maciek Shasha were spot on in their pivotal roles exuding charm, fear, anger and disinterest with relish.
The choreography by Katie Staines is some of the best I have ever seen, the ensemble so disciplined and focused with defined unison moves. Vocal harmony singing was also top notch, the very simple set, including the most treacherous set of stairs I have ever seen, giving the right setting to allow performance to shine. Lighting, costumes and make up, especially of a suitably rakish George Gunn as the Sqibb, were complimentary and very well thought out, adding even more sparkle to the proceedings.
Directors Alex Wareham, Lizzy Bajecbo, Molly Ellis and Charles English should be so proud of this oh so professional and perfect show. Very highly recommended.