Fanatical, Playground London, 3***: William Russell



Music & Lyrics by Matt Board Book by Reina Hardy.


The Playground Theatre, Latimer Road, London W10 6RQ to 9 December 2018.

Mon-Sat 7.30pm Mat Weds, Sat & Sun 3pm.

Runs 2hr One interval.

TICKETS: 0208 960 0110.



Review: William Russell 16 November

Superheroes and Superfans

Set during one of those conventions where worshipers of the likes of Captain Kirk or Dr Who turn up, wear costumes from the show, swop trivia, buy other trivia and spend their time on their knees in front of antediluvian performers from the shows who are earning a modest buck in retirement by turning up, this is a tuneful and intriguing musical having a try out. The stars reflect that fact. It could be, and may well turn out to be so in the light of the experience gained, much better and worth that fourth star.

That said the cast is strong and in the second half, when the plot really kicks in after a very sticky start, things do take a marked turn for the better.

It opens badly with a very confused number involving the whole company singing none too clearly about something or other, not helped by the fact that director Grace Taylor and designer P J McEvoy have chosen to set the action on a space with the audience sitting in a V formation in front of the acting area. This presents the actors with problems in putting a number across – who are they aiming at? The Playground space has been far better used by other shows.

Trix (Suanne Braun with the best voice of the night) is the harassed organiser waiting anxiously for Scott Furnish (Stephen Frost), the creator of Angel B, Eight Against the World, a cult sci-fi TV show, to make an appearance. She is also worried about the presence of Craig (Tim Rogers in good voice) a hunky tabloid journalist out to expose something or other, coping with Andra (Sophie Powles), who identifies with one of the cult show’s characters to excess and Baxter (Eddy Payne fizzing with energy) a neurotic teenager suffering pangs of unrequited love for Andra. It is all very energetic but not terribly interesting.

However Act Two opens with the arrival of Scott – Mr Frost is in fine form – in a very agitated state. The show has been cancelled. He is drunk and has destroyed the final episode of the series. Resolving that predicament proves amusing and things do move briskly to a satisfactory conclusion with Baxter learning there will be other women in his life, Andra getting Craig, who has a satisfying secret to reveal, and Trix making out with Scott.

It does need more work, especially on that muddled first act, but it is funny, has a melodious score, and has a cast well worth watching once it gets into its collective stride.

Trix: Suanne Braun.

Bernard: Theodore Crosby.

Jillian: Amber Sylvia Edwards.

Scot Furnish: Stephen Frost.

Lizette: Amy Lovatt.

Baxter: Eddy Payne.

Andra: Sophie Powles.

Craig: Tim Rogers.

Director: Grace Taylor/

Design: P J McEvoy.

Musical Supervisor: Jim Henson.

Musical Director: John Reddel.

Movement Director: Anthony Whiteman.

Lighting: Rachel Sampley.

Sound: Andy Graham.

Photography: Scott Rylander.


ReviewsGate Copyright Protection