by Paul Rayfield.

Riverside Studios (Studio 3) Crisp Road Hammersmith, London, W6 9RL To 30 June 2013.
Tue-Sat 7.45pm Mat Thu, Sat, Sun 3pm.
Runs 2hr One interval.

TICKETS: 020 8237 1111.
Review: Tilly Lunken 13 June.

Reality TV takes to the stage.
Payback the Musical is piece of musical theatre made up of the ingredients and characters of a reality TV show – it sounds entertaining and it is. We get instructed to boo and applause by a man holding a clipboard and referring instructions of his earpiece. There is well-integrated AV and we are constantly reminded that this is a digital age.

As a premise and a construction it works, although it does mean the plot and characters are shoe-horned into set-pieces, which at times dilutes the satire. Perhaps if the ugly façade was played with further this might take the story into darker and more interesting territory.

However, even without the darkness Payback is fun, well-performed and engaging. The turning point for me was the song ‘Holiday Romance’, a deliciously satirical recap of what we had been watching. Paul Rayfield’s songs are the highlight of the production.

At the preview, the mixing wasn’t exactly right but this will be addressed and live music on stage is generally preferable as it gives a great energy to the cast.

I am not convinced any of the characters in this musical really learn anything, but the audience certainly do. Payback the Musical is a double lesson: our blind our trust in TV isn’t going to end well, but supporting new writing just might. Applause!

Isabel/Tracy: Katie Bernstein (Isabel/Tracy).
Sam: Sarah Earnshaw.
Joe: Adam Flynn.
Billy Life: Howard Samuels.
Father Colin: Alan Vicary.
Matt Matthews: Matthew White.
Guilherme: James Yeoburn.
Ensemble: Holly Brennan, Georgie Freeman, Chris Kiely, Douglas Rutter.

Director Simon Greiff.
Designer: Kate Unwin.
Lighting: Robert Casey.
Musical Director: Nick Larkin.
Audio-visual: Laura Lomax.
Choreographer: Adam Murray.

2013-06-17 11:43:11

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