Bromance, Other Palace London, 4****: William Russell



Music by Kyle Ewalt

Lyrics by Michael Ian Walker & Kyle Ewalt

Book by Michael Ian Walker


The Other Palace, The Studio, 12 Palace Street, London SW1 5JA to 24 October 2018.

Mon- Sat 8pm.

Runs 2 hr 20 mins One interval.

TICKETS: 020 7087 7900.

Review William Russell 18 October.


The brotherhood of men laid hysterically bare

Maybe the who Bro thing is essentially American, something chaps form while at high school and carry on into their after lives – the night out with the brothers which the wives and girlfriends tolerate. I am not sure it is very British, although maybe belonging to the Masons is the equivalent. No matter this very funny musical takes a splendidly satirical look at the ways of men which audiences should enjoy although it has to be performed in the right size of theatre and the Studio at the Other Palace fits it like a glove.

It seems that on St Patrick’s Day in America chaps go out drinking and get sloshed. Marty (Joshua Gannon), a lonely new nerd in town – Chicago in fact – ends up in Peg Leg’s Irish Pub where he meets Dick, Tom and Harry and he and Dick (Robbie Smith), a bit of a wastrel, bond over the beer. They exchange phone numbers and Marty, who is badly in need of a friend, calls Dick next day. After that the bromance begins and the arrival of a fourth member duly upsets hunkyTom (a splendid Cellen Chugg Jones) , who is happily set up with a live- in girlfriend, and Harry (Richard J Hunt), the one who thrives on Chilli Cheese Fries – his opening number for Act Two which almost stops the show – and really needs his Bros.

I was going to say Harry is the inevitable fat plain one, but that would be body shaming these days, and Mr Hunt, who plays him, has loads of charm and personality. But it is a fact of life that the construct of such groups includes different types of men from the handsome to the challenged.

The relationship between Marty and Dick thrives, although it has its ups and downs, while the other two Bros get really annoyed at this intruder, and various women, all played by Esme Laudat displaying great versatility, cause problems. It is not a gay musical. Bromances are not gay although there is one splendid moment when Dick asks Marty if he can perform a service which would have stopped the show had Marty agreed – but Dick was “only joking.”

The songs are terrific, the lyrics funny and the cast perform with great style. Joshua Gannon’s Marty is sweet, simple and ever so slightly annoying in that he needs a good smacking and told to grow up, while Robbie Smith oozes louche charm as his first and only Bro.

Maybe some of the Bro puns get a little wearing and that sub title – The Dudesical really should go – but as an expose of masculinity in America it works a treat and lots of it hit home here too. Ignore the advice of the creators given in the programme which is not to laugh – as this is a drama. You will laugh. Director Sarah Redmond has done a great job, as has the sound engineer, and there is a fine band under Andy Smith.

The run is far too short and it deserves another home – but it has to be the right one. It is indeed a fine Bromance – with no kisses, well maybe a few.

Marty: Joshua Gannon.

Dick: Robbie Smith.

Tom: Cellen Chug Jones.

Harry: Richard J Hunt.

All the Female Parts: Esme Laudate.

Director: Sarah Redmond.

Musical Director: Andy Smith.

Lighting Designer: Kim Hollamby.

Set Designer: Dan Gillingwater.

Sound Designer: Joe Morris.


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