book, music & lyrics by Elliot Davis and James Bourne.
Union Theatre 204 Union Street Southwark SE1 0LX To 21 March 2015.
Tue–Sat 7.30pm Mat Sat & Sun 2.30pm.
Runs 2hr 15min One interval.
TICKETS: 020 7261 9876.
Review: William Russell 28 February.
Computers, geeks and jocks in high school frolics.
Bright and bouncy, this talent-packed and energetic revival of a not very successful 2012 West End show should please the Union’s musical-mad customers well enough, although in spite of the efforts of a hard-working and talented young cast there seems to be no very good reason for producer Sasha Regan bothering to revive it.
The show is not a lost treasure unappreciated in its day. In essence it is the Big Bang Theory set to music with four young assorted Geeks suffering the usual ills that America’s high schools inflict on the ones with brains as opposed to brawn.
It is 1971 and Michael Dork (Luke Newton) is working on a scheme to get computer to talk to computer, using the resources of a computer company called Arch on the sly. His friend Lucas (Jordan Fox), the obligatory spectacled one, is a sci fi freak who has written a novel. The other two chums, there for makeweight, are just geeks.
Michael meets Holly (Holly-Anne Hull), a bespectacled lady geek new to school, with a shady past, and they collaborate on trying to solve the problem. Meanwhile dishy Eddie (Lewis Bradley), the conceited son of the computer company boss, plans to steal all the credit and wed the slinky shopping-mad prom queen Leia (Sarah Covey smouldering nicely).
Newton, an engaging and gangling young man, delivers the necessary star performance, Fix makes the neurotic bespectacled one amusing, and Bradley plays the cad to the manner born.
So far so good, but a Grease for our times it is not, let alone an answer to American High School the Musical. The songs come and go without making much impact, the plot is both tedious and predictable and a sense of déjà vu (recalling much better things – references to Star Wars and Star Trek abound) hangs over it.
Michael Burgan, a Union stalwart on stage, making his debut as director, does a decent job keeping of it moving briskly, everyone works with a will, and the evening passes pleasantly enough. But the mystery remains – why bother?
Eddie Arch: Lewis Bradley.
Michael Dork: Luke Newton.
Holly Manson: Holly-Anne Hull.
Leila Dawkins: Sarah Covey.
Lucas Lloyd: Jordan Fox.
Marvin Camden: Sandy Gigolos.
Francis Weir: Matthew Harvey.
Wayne Pagoda: Ryan Ridley.
Huey Phillips: Charlie Kendall.
Samantha Powder: Isobel Hathaway.
Elaine Friend: Jennifer Jolly Jamieson.
Ensemble: Daniel Parrott, Ben Rawlings, Morgan Scott, James-Lee Harris, Amy Thiroff, Chloe Lindsay, Delycia Belgrave, Miracle Chance.
Director: Michael Burgen.
Lighting: Tim Deiling.
Musical Director: Bryan Hodgson.
Choreographer: Matt Krzan.
Costume: Elle-Rose Hughes.
Wigs: Hans Stefan Musch.
Associate choreographer: Callum Nicol.