Reputation – the musical
Music and Lyrics Alick Glass
Book by Alick and Suzanne Glass.
Studio Ground Floor, The Other Palace, 12 Palace Street, London SW11E 5JA to 14 November 2019.
Mon – Sat 8pm. Mat Sat 3pm.
Runs 2hr One interval.
TICKETS: 020 7087 7900.
Review: William Russell 6 November.
This world premiere for Reputation, a new musical, is seen by its begetter Alick Glass as the first step on a long journey. Having fulfilled his dream of having it staged maybe would be well advised to forget the journey a, in spite of some heroic efforts by the cast and a spirited turn at the piano and double bass by Warren Wills and Jordan Brown, the show is pretty ghastly. The basic idea is fine. Michele, who is attending a school in Paris for young ladies in search of husbands, writes a novel. But instead of seeking a publisher sends it to Freddy Larceny a Hollywood con man, who has a successful career as a screenwriter using the scripts sent to him plus 20 dollars by suckers who see his ad in the papers. In due course it is filmed and is up for an Oscar. But Michelle finds out. With a little help from her father, who we never see, and a rather sweet lawyer she sues him for plagiarism and fights for female equality in the process.
There are 25 musical numbers, none of which raise any hint of the songs of the thirties, the time when the story is set, and most of which seem to get sung by Michelle. Jeremy Secomb, as Freddy Larceny, opens things impressively but his role as narrator tends to disappear too often for the general good. When you are on the musical equivalent of the Titanic he does what the captain did, goes down nobly with the ship. Mr Secomb deserves better. As the lawyer who helps Michelle Ed Wade sings sweetly and has an odd ball charm which lifts things every time he appears which is not often enough. If there are reasons for going they are to see Mr Wade and Mr Secomb rise above the material they have been landed with.
The ensemble of young ladies sing the songs as well as they can be sung and dance around energetically performing Tamsyn Salter’s choreography – she also does a turn as a Madame Dubonnet type head of the finishing school – while sporting hideous dresses made from canary yellow white polka dotted material. No costume designer is credited, probably just as well. Their hairdos, especially those of Michelle and her envious best friend Mary, suggest they need to find better hairdressers quick. Priscille Grace does a nice turn as a femme fatale singer in a red sequinned gown while Maddy Banks as the extremely dim Michelle gets the big number to sing at the end which persuades the judge deciding the plagiarism case to rule in her favour. She tackles it valiantly.
One must hope that Mr Glass, having got it out of his system, can continue to enjoy his retirement from the world of marketing and thank his lucky stars Reputation is not something he had to market.
Freddy Larceny: Jeremy Secomb.
Michelle Grant: Maddy Banks.
Mary: Laura Ingram.
Angela: Ashleigh Cavanagh.
Jane: Charlie Dennis.
Monica: Eleanor Tollan.
Archie Bright: Ed Wade.
Jacqueline/Chorus: Priscille Wade.
Deportment Teacher: Tamsyn Salter.
Judge Stevens: Cory Peterson.
Director, Musical Director and Arranger: Warren Wills.
Choreography: Tamsyn Salter.
Lighting Design: Nick Richings.
Double Bass: Jordan Brown.
Production Photographs: Donato.