Review of Blink Again! Turn On The Lights! at Above The Stag
For the third year in a row director Tim McArthur and the resourceful team at the Stag have pulled together over two dozen songs from 'less successful' musicals and you'd think by now they'd be scraping barrels. Not so, such is the back catalogue of continually flopping musical theatre that even the very recently-deceased 'Umbrellas of Cherbourg' and currently-in-longest-ever-previews 'Spiderman' get a battering in hilarious parodies.
The parodies leaven what could have been a repetitive evening of show tunes delivered with just sufficient staging to resist the static.
Many of the songs are technically difficult, possibly a reason their source musicals struggled, but the young voices cope well with the demands and there's a freshness in rediscovering 'China Doll' from 'Marguerite' sung by Jamie Lee and also Paul Brangan's extremely well-judged 'Grief Never Grows Old' from an ill-fated Mike Read musical about Oscar Wilde which opened and closed the same night, and was recycled only as a charity single for the 2004 tsunami.
The standout voice belongs to Peter Navickas whose faultless high lyric tenor illuminates 'A Boy from Nowhere' from 'Matador' and 'If It's Only Love' from 'Metropolis' as well as blending beautifully with Brangan in 'Lilly's Eyes' from 'The Secret Garden'.
Linking narratives rest heavily on commenting on the short runs of many of the shows but there's a slightly ironic surreallism in hearing such pitying tones from profit-share actors in a room over a grotty pub sighing that a multi-million dollar Disney project "survived only four months on Broadway" or a critically-acclaimed show "ran for barely 100 performances in the West End" ... when they're playing to an audience of five.
But the running 'Spiderman' joke is worth the ticket price alone ...
This review written for www.remotegoat.co.uk
Thanks to everyone who joined Erin Kelly, Melanie McGrath and me at Mansfield Central Library on Saturday 25 February. We had a panel discussion and Q&A, ...