BARE to 25 May.


BARE: The rock musical
book by Jon Hartmere and Damon Intrabartolo lyrics by Jon Hartmere music by Damon Intrbartolo.

Union Theatre 204 Union Street Southwark SE1 OLX To 25 May 2013.
Tue–Sun 7.30pm Mat Sun 2.30pm.
Runs 2hr 30min One interval.

TICKETS: 0207 261 9876.
Review: William Russell 28 April.

Terrific talent saves the day.
As rock musicals go this perfectly acceptable show, which has enjoyed a long life across America since it was launched in Hollywood in 2000, is a mishmash with a very ordinary score. What lifts it out of the rut is the handsome production by Paul Taylor Mills, a terrific cast, good set and energetic choreography.

The stage is bursting with talent. We are in an American Catholic co-ed boarding school where the pupils seem to spend their time sniffing drugs, holding raves, rehearsing Romeo and Juliet, occasionally attend mass and suffer the problems all teenagers have when it comes to sex, drugs and rock and roll. Two pupils are secretly in love – handsome, muscle-bound Jason (Ross William Wild) the class’s top jock, and pretty blond Peter (Michael Vinson), an altar boy to tempt the hardest seminarian’s heart.

As well as the Catholic guilt about being gay, Jason, who swings both ways, wants to keep their love secret because he quite likes things as they are and anyway Dad will beat him up. Peter wants to come out, and Ivy (Lily-Jane Young), the class glamour-puss in suspenders, short skirts and stockings, a girl who won’t take No for an answer, wants Jason.

One thing leads to the inevitable other, while the Priest (Matt Harrop) offers kindly but useless advice in the confessional, drama teacher Sister Chantelle (Hannah Levane) offers more useful advice backstage and Peter’s mother (Yvette Robinson) refuses to listen to him.

Ross William Wild is very dashing, sings well and makes Jason a memorably torn personality, while Michael Vinson, vocally as good, manages to suffuse himself with lust and sadness, a golden boy tarnishing in full sight as he tries to get his weak lover to face reality.

Levane is simply stunning, raising the roof in a series of rock gospel numbers which belong to another show, and Melanie Greaney as Nadia, the obligatory weight-challenged nerd, is also terrific. The scenes from Shakespeare – at one point Peter is Juliet to Jason’s Romeo – complicate things, as do several dream sequences, but for once the cast’s the thing, not the play.

Jason: Ross William Wild.
Peter: Michael Vinson.
Ivy: Lily-Jane Young.
Tanya: Rosanna Yeo.
Nadia: Melanie Greaney.
Matt: Dales Evans.
Lucas: Liam Ross-Mills.
Claire: Yvette Robinson.
Kyra: Fia Houston-Hamilton.
Rory: Dan Krikler.
Sister Chantelle: Hannah Levane.
Priest: Matt Harrop.
Alan: Jordan Lee Davies.
Zack: Dean John-Wilson.
Diane: Natalie Chua.

Director: Paul Taylor Mills.
Designer: David Shields.
Lighting: Tim Deiling.
Musical Director: Huw Evans.
Conductor: Christopher Peake.
Choreographer: Racky Plews.
Costume: Megan Keegan.
Assistant director: Bo Frazier.
Assistant choreographer: Hayley Ellen Scott.

2013-04-30 21:31:39

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