While a lot of the focus and questions have been surrounding West End Theatre musical productions returning – we shouldn’t forget to champion new British musicals says Emma Clarendon.
I love a big West End production as much as the next musical theatre fan – but we should also champion the work of new composers and creative teams who have been able to continue to showcase what they have been up to throughout lockdown.
Whether it has been putting on concert productions (as Fiver the musical did) or putting out an album recording (as did Cases the musical) – it may be on a smaller scale – but it is no less important for being more intimate. Here’s just a few musicals and those creating them that we should be supporting.
Fiver the musical: Written by Alex James Ellison and Tom Lees, it was first seen at the Southwark Playhouse a few years ago, but was brought back in concert form for lockdown. What I loved about this musical was the way in which it was how a £5 note changing hands can open up to many different stories and characters. It is smart, funny and immensely enjoyable (oh and a cast recording has just been released).
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: It would be fair to say that we all need a bit of magic in our lives, which is exactly why Richard Hough and Ben Morales Frost’s musical is such a joy. It gets the balance of playful songs and heartfelt ones just right – makes it perfect for families. The story follows a father and daughter who must repair their relationship in order to save their village and is filled with fabulous magical effects – it is currently streaming until 14 March. Do check it out if you can.
The Fabulist Fox Sister: Like any musical, the story or character its based on has to be sufficiently interesting to capture the audience’s attention. Luke Bateman and Michael Conley certainly bring to life a fascinating character and story in the shape of Kate Fox, who along with her sisters inadvertently helped to create spiritualism. With a biting wit, sharp lyrics, this musical is ideal if you like your musicals as unique as they can be. It is available to stream until 16 May.
Treason the Musical: Streaming in concert form from 12 to 14 March, this new musical inspired by the gunpowder plot is certainly going to be interesting to watch unfold as it is part of history that not many people would have thought to transform into a musical. It features music and lyrics by Ricky Allan, whose credits include the scoring of original music and sound design for St John Hankin’s play The Last of The De Mullins at the Jermyn Street Theatre, and original music for Meet the Teaspoons at Chiswick Playhouse.
Cases the Musical: A great musical doesn’t happen overnight. It takes so much work and it can be fascinating to see how it develops and changes. Four years since its London premiere, Cases was written and composed by Dominic Powell. It explores unforeseen circumstances and unexpected crises inspired by journeys and careers within the arts and entertainment industry.
Being able to be at home and experience some of these new musicals has been a wonderful privilege – let’s hope when this is all over they have an even bigger life – by being able to see them live on stage!
By Emma Clarendon