Music by Brad Alexander
Book & Lyrics by Adam Mathais

The Union Theatre, 204 Union Street, London SE1 0LX to 30 August 2014
Tues – Sat 7.30pm Mat Sat & Sun 2.30pm
Runs 1hr 40 mins No interval, to 30 08 14

TICKETS: 02067 261 9876

Review: William Russell, 17 August

Take a trip with talent.
This entertaining musical, more of a revue than a play, first staged in 2007 comes garlanded with off Broadway awards for both book and music. One can have views about awards, but there is no getting away from the fact that as a showcase for a young and talented cast it is a pleasing and entertaining affair.

Presided over fairly loosely by a tour guide we are taken round a series of American tourist spots where an assortment of people face up to moments of crisis, some funny, some sad. Like all portmanteau pieces it lacks a centre; the character of the guide, although done with style by Ricky Johnson, not getting much chance to deliver until the end, which he undeniably does.

It opens with a young man picking up a bored and down in the mouth waitress in a diner and off they drive to visit the Emerald City, otherwise Rock City of the title, which turns out to be just that. Rocks. Nancy Sullivan is very touching as the waitress, and Alex Lodge is a strapping wanderer. Will she go back to her job or, like Thelma and a Louis, will they head together for adventure?

There is a funny tale involving a nerd seeking extraterrestrial encounters in Rosewell – Joshua LeClair creates a gloriously dotty soul who is doomed to fail. As for the rest, three sisters reconcile while disposing of their father’s ashes; two public school boys play hookey to Coney Island and, while riding the rides, make some intriguing discoveries about love; a young woman trapped looking after her wheelchair bound grandfather discovers romance; and a doubting bride at Niagara Falls faces up to the future.

The sketches are skilful, the music which consists of long phrases and lots of crescendos, a style much favoured by off Broadway composers, is pleasing enough, some melodies would not go amiss.

But go for the cast who rise to the occasion as does the director, Graham Hubbard

Dodi: Nancy Sullivan
Claire: Laurel Dougal
Judy Kathleen Larken
Lauren: Georgia Permutt
Cutter: Richard Dawes
Kate: Sinead Wall
Jess: Alex Lodge
Tour Guide: Ricky Johnson
Evan: Joshua LeClair
Rick: Barney Glover
Dempsey: Kris Marc-Joseph
Grampy Neil Stewart
Lily Rebecca Withers

Director: Graham Hubbard
Musical Director: Matt Ramplin
Set Designer: Oona Tibbets
Lighting Designer: Tom Boucher
Costume Designer: Clara Lopez
Sound Designer: Bronagh Lagan

2014-08-19 14:16:31

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