Steven (a demonstrative David Ames) is celebrating his 47th birthday at the Manhattan branch of Joe Allen’s, where posters from little-remembered shows line the walls.
The Seven Dials Playhouse opens with the European premiere of Mark Gerrard’s gently amusing and affecting Steve.
It is a delightful curiosity, though, in the sense that it’s a show deliberately aiming at a long life on college and festival circuits rather than having eyes on the prize of Broadway or the West End.
Among the slew of American college circuit and chamber musicals at the Fringe, Stop the Train by Rick Guard and Phil Rice stands apart for looking nearly London-ready. Its score, orchestrations, big cast and production values are all first-class so it’s beyond unfortunate that some of the lyrics are away-day, super-saver, railcard-discounted tosh that sound like they came from one of those we-make-it-up-on-the-night improv shows.