[title of show] – New Theatre – Review by Emily Elphinstone
The swiftness with which Wikipedia was sought in order to establish the origins of [title of show], can only be a good thing. [title of show] is a superbly metatheatrical musical-comedy, about two guys, Jeff and Hunter, writing a show about two guys writing a show. Originally conceived in 2004 by Jeff Bowen and Hunter Bell as a submission for to the inaugural New York Musical Theatre Festival, [title of show] studies their experience of writing, and has grown and developed with each production since then. This mantle is now taken on by Ill-Advised Theatre Company in their first full scale production; and the energy with which they do this, was the source of the debate about the show’s conception. No, it is not a new show, and yes it is even more autobiographical than it looks.
Beyond that, I urge you not to learn too much about [title of show]’s origins until after you see it.The thought of a musical-comedy from a new company, on one of Dublin’s smaller stages could fill one with fear; and there’s no doubt this is a tricky recipe to get right. Thankfully [title of show] is one such success story. The ‘four chairs and a keyboard’ staging is not just a design choice to fit into the New Theatre; but an integral part of the show. Classically musical-theatre harmonies are delivered well by the cast, and the script is self-conscious without trying too hard; pointing out well known devices like the musical interlude, without distracting from the story.
There were instances in which new songs felt a little rushed before calming down, and there was an odd harsher chord; but these were only brief moments in an otherwise strong and brilliantly funny show. The true key to the success of [title of show] was not the quality of the cast’s singing, or the skills of the hard done by keyboard player. The real element which brought the show together was the great sense of humour and personality of the cast. Ill Devised Theatre Company may not be the original creators, but it certainly felt like their show.
[title of show] – New Theatre – runs until Augusst 23rd, @ 7.30pm – Tickets: €15 (€12 conc.)