posted/updated: 03 Oct 2011 -
Adored - A Rock Musical
Lucky Bucket Productions
society/company: Born 2 Perform Productions
performance date: 03 Jun 2011
venue: Chequer Mead Theatre
reviewer/s: Rachel Connelly (Independent review)
It is such a rare treat to be invited to review an original production. I most often find myself watching yet another version of an old classic and as much as these productions have their place it is entirely refreshing to be invited to review a world premiere. The show was ADORED: A ROCK MUSICAL, quite simply it is a modern take on the myth of Narcissus, set in 1960s America and Ivan Glorious is the narcissistic almost cult like figure at the centre of the plot.
In spite of being worshipped and adored by a loyal group of followers and having the luxury of enormous wealth he feels bored and lonely. When Moriah enters the frame he is instantly attracted to her and it is love at first sight, she however rejects him and urges him to change his ways or die lonely.
The brilliantly costumed production bought out considerable humour with Ivan and Moriah wearing matching long blonde wigs and white hippy robes. The song that Moriah sang as she arrived in Ivan’s world was perhaps my favourite of the entire production, it was foot stampingly folk inspired and had all of the charm of one of Joni Mitchell’s finest. Moriah sings of her desire to ‘change the human race’ and we instantly realise she is a magical and detached character.
The use of narration throughout gave the show purpose and direction and the decision to have the narration sung was inspired and entirely in keeping with the rock theme. The decision to cast Sadie-May Fawcett in the role of narrator was perhaps the most rewarding choice, her stillness and maturity of voice belied her young years and her rich velvety tones were ringing in my ears long after I left the theatre.
Overall the production was head and shoulders above any other youth production I have seen in recent years and I was trying to analyse why. The cast were dynamic, lively and vibrant, the staging was imaginative and the choreography was faultless. The set was minimal and the cast were onstage the majority of the time, some cast members were as young as 6 and their focus was indeed impressive. It struck me that the standard of the show was high because the choice of material was appropriate.
The company undoubtedly had strength in key players, like the exceptional talent of Alex Jenn who took on the lead role and strutted across the stage like god of rock and at the tender age of 13. Most theatre companies have a few highly talented performers at least, for me it was the material they were performing.
The songs were challenging but set in comfortable keys with simple but effective harmonies, the dialogue was manageable and the cast actually took time to deliver the lines, pausing for dramatic effect and it felt as if they were truly in control and comfortable with the script. Not scrabbling to remember lines. They even had the luxury of a live rock band and compliments to the sound engineer for controlling this situation and ensuring that not a single word was lost over the enthusiastic and frankly brilliant drumming.
My only criticism would be that it was not overly well attended. Youth groups struggle to get an audience at the best of times but when the show is unknown it seems that the support is even less. I will never understand why this is the case. It would be disastrous if this company had to revert back to the old classics that the local audience have watched hundreds of times before, or worse still they opt for the butchered versions of adult shows that are ill suited and make little sense.
So a word to our local theatre goers: get out and support new theatre, go and see something different, you will enjoy it and you might even see the premiere of a future West End hit.