There are some negatives with this production and its not surprising because emotionally and artistically, I’ve been planning it in me head for years! (See earlier post! :-)) Some negatives, yes, but the cast, a crucial part of any such community theatre venture, is not one of them! Sure there’s the odd mumble and diction occasionally gets lost, but they are all eminently watchable and talented and their enjoyment is infectious and moving. Well done. It’s quite a young cast as well, but they were generally all well used and there’s a fascinating range of characters and local places. Even a sandwich delivery bike crosses the stage at one point, a stage lightly set with box like buildings.
The negatives come more from the structure of the piece which, in my very cynical opinion, lacks focus. It also lack pace on occasions, but that’s not the fault of the cast. It is hugely noticeable, almost a shock, how the piece comes to life with the series of musical tributes that suddenly and perhaps a bit illogically, appears in the middle of the show. It’s also when the show becomes it’s most theatrical and entertaining. It also does that theatre thing I hate when theatres do ‘community’ and make assumptions about working class folk. The production gets annoyingly preachy… quite often. As a working class kid, born and bred on a council estate in Birmingham, it constantly annoys me how professional Uni theatre folk seem to think we live. But apart from the obvious bit of preaching, the local cast keep it honest and this show is packed with local references, as you would expect.
There’s a slightly surprising twist too – and it finished off a low beat ending. I was hoping for something a bit more celebratory, but it was not to be, in spite of a loud and enthusiastic audience.
So well done Hammersmith.
And Lyric, you’re a big beautiful theatre and are to be congratulated. It’s great coming together after the times we’ve been through. But maybe you could have done better. Give me a call next time. It was, after all, my original idea! Oh, I may have already mentioned that…! x