St James Theatre – until 27 August 2016
The premise of this show is new and innovative. Here’s the synopsis – Young photographer Jimmy Tucker faces the biggest and most exciting challenge of his life when a stranger commissions him to find and shoot the seven deadly sins alive and kicking in modern London. But in a break-neck race through the night, a series of extraordinary encounters involving girlfriends, family history and the intoxicating cult of celebrity begin to reveal that there’s a whole lot more at stake than just money.
Subtitled Life through a Lens, this makes you believe it’s an exploration into deadly sins, fame, fortune and excessive behaviour. So, in-keeping with listing the seven deadly sins, I’m going to list my seven favourite things about this show.
- Exciting and fresh storyline which makes for an intriguing read.
- Choreography slick, contemporary and completely captivating in each of the genres used.
- Vocally supreme, the casts voices are strong with particular mentions to David Albury, Natalie Anderson, Niamh Perry, Zeph Gould, Kurt Kansley and Michael Greco.
- In conjunction with Getty Images there is some thought-provoking and mesmerising photography.
- An eclectic group of different genre musical numbers made for an interesting evening.
- Staging is clever and innovative.
- Lighting is entirely complementary and striking.
Unfortunately, it has taken my usually positive self, hours to draw together these seven positives from my notes. At times chaotic and more often than not shambolic, the musical left the audience baffled at its meaning. This extremely talented cast was let down by the unsophisticated script. It has taken a long time to get this production to stage and being a new writing champion, I have been hugely anticipating seeing this, but felt it still has been exposed far too soon. It was a star-studded cast and whilst I appreciate such a cast deserve a large performance space, it would have benefited from being in an even smaller theatre, which would give a more intimate feel especially whilst its finding its feet.
Written by Mike Dyer and directed by Phil Willmott, the enthusiastic cast showed an enormous amount of energy. The choreography by Lindon Barr really was on point, slick, perfectly timed, contemporary and one of the highlights of the show.
The concept itself which suggested a multi layered deeply dark show, at times gave way instead to a caricature of the devil in addition to a predictable portrayal of the seven deadly sins. When we should have been thinking about how the pursuit for fame and being a celebrity often gives way to manipulation and excessive behaviour. We were instead left pondering the absurdity of such lines (sounding like) “peering through the window of my mothers belly button” and a particular favourite of mine “which way I swing my ding a-ling”
There were some wonderful performances and good songs, but with no fewer than twelve collaborations to the musical numbers, is it any wonder that this musical lost its way. Indeed the songs I really enjoyed often felt curtailed or a little lost amongst the huge company numbers. I particularly enjoyed My Last Goodbye, Father’s Lament and Innocent Skies.
To summarise, this is an interesting concept with clever and big aspirations. However the excellently talented cast are not given the opportunity to make it the success it should be. I hope given time it will grow with confidence and do just that. I did have an enjoyable evening and the cast are definitely worthy of continued audience support.
I did however wonder if in this case, we should have left this particular camera lens firmly with its cap on, until it was further developed, into the show I know it can be.