You might think that a show about writing a show about writing a show would be confusing. You’d be right. However, if you’re willing to enter the rabbit hole, it’s certainly worth it.
[title of show] follows Jeff, Hunter, Heidi and Susan as they fight to get their show, [title of show], onto the page, onto the stage, and eventually onto Broadway. Despite the characters claiming (and singing) that they want to write something substantial and political, the show remains firmly in the light and ‘fluffy’ realm of musical theatre, but sometimes a little fluff is exactly what you need.
Musically, Scott Reynolds (Hunter), Rod Schultz (Jeff), Claire McEvoy (Heidi) and Amy Nagesh (Susan) blend very well and clearly know their harmonies inside and out (although Nagesh does a very good job of portraying Susan, who sometimes can’t find her part at all). Despite a few difficulties with belting, McEvoy was by far the vocal standout, with a tuneful, personality-filled twang that perfectly fit her character. Individually, each of the other three actors sing their parts with character and musicality, but are not given much opportunity in the score to really show off their vocal chops.
But in a musical so plot-driven, it’s the acting that can really make or break you, and in this show it was certainly the former. There were a few stutters and false starts here and there, but in a show that aims to tell the audience everything that happened as it happened, human glitches like these almost contribute to the realism. The script is challenging – fast paced, slang-filled, and rife with pop culture (or theatre culture) references, but the actors never seem to lose control of the scene. Through tension, comradery, celebration and despair, the characters are a team, and from their chemistry it seems McEvoy, Nagsh, Reynolds and Schultz are the same.
Aside from four chairs and some hand props, the stage remains bare for the entirety of the show, which is apt for such a self-referential show. Although McEvoy’s costume was a little dated, particularly when paired with such modern pop culture references, the aesthetic of the show on the whole was simple and clean. Fans of classic choreography will enjoy the kitschy quality of the dance in [title of show]; all the old favourites are there, from the box step to jazz hands, and all were performed with pizzazz, if not always perfect synchronicity.
[title of show] is an honest portrayal of the quirky, exhausting, stop-start journey of writing a musical and will resonate with any performer, writer or theatre junkie. If you’re looking for something refreshingly different to any other musical you will see this Fringe, look no further – this is the show about a show (about a show) for you.