Truth be told, my first thought on hearing that a new theatre was opening in London was ‘do we really need another one?’ Then I clocked the address in Camberwell and realised that I could add it to the list of theatres that I can walk to in under 10 minutes (the White Bear, the Blue Elephant, the Ovalhouse as was…) which kinda goes to my first point there…
And you do have to admire the gumption that goes with opening a new venue in the middle of a pandemic and so I happily made my way to the Golden Goose Theatre to catch their second ever show Now. Here. This. All credit to the staff for ensuring a safe and friendly environment and even with its capacity reduced, the new auditorium feels ripe with potential, particularly with a pleasingly large, high stage which immediately sets it apart from many a fringe venue.
Likeable Now. Here. This. is a show with music and lyrics by Jeff Bowen and a book by Hunter Bell and Susan Blackwell who previously collaborated on [title of show]. It is another four-hander, set in the Museum of Natural History where four friends sing about the meaning of their lives whilst learning about the meaning of life. And directed by Anthony Underwood with some sprightly choreography from Tessa Guerrero and sterling musical direction from Matthew Herbert, a company of four fresh new faces acquit themselves well.
A non-linear timeline allows the scope of the show to range from the individual to the universal, from painful pasts to presents full of potential. This scattergun approach could possibly have benefitted from a firmer editorial hand as it runs over 100 interval-less minutes, but it also allows for many moments of piercing emotion. The realisation that homosexuality is something to be hidden, the mortality of grandparents, the shame of living in a low-income family, the pressures of parental ambition… there’s also a good measure of humour in there too to keep things from ever getting too heavy.