by Joe Harmston and Ray Goudie.
Inspire at Gilded Balloon Teviot (Venue 14) Teviot Row House, Edinburgh EH8 9AJ To 29 August 2011.
Runs 1hr No interval.
TICKETS: 0131 662 6552.
Review: Mark Courtice 11 August.
Ambitious musical asks interesting questions.
Two brothers: one lives up to his father’s ambitions and the other goes off the rails. It’s brave to take on this particular story in creating a new musical, as it feels like it’s been done before.
There is something interesting here, though. The family are Army through and through; father is a colonel and the boys both soldiers. When Kyle Gibson buys himself out to be a rock star, perdition beckons as he gets involved with drugs and the death of his rock-star girlfriend. His brother meanwhile leads operations against the poppy fields of Afghanistan.
There is a long and honourable tradition of British working class musicals like Brassed Off and Spend, Spend, Spend, and this looks as if it could join them. After all it’s our working class young who are dying in our wars, and often are getting messed up by sudden fame and sudden disgrace by tabloid.
Here there are strong tunes, well sung (especially by David J Higgins as the father and Marc Mulcahey as the sensible son), and there is an energetic and capable cast. The laws of theatrical production demand a mixture of men and women, which means here there are more females in this army than the real one – but they are actually quite convincing. There is an excellent scene when the squaddies get kitted-up to go out on a mission that, despite being sung, combines authenticity and wit. The sleazy attractions of heroin are cleverly shown a by chorus of pink air-hostesses known as the Heroin Fairies.
The production is given the best of everything. It’s well directed and designed. A clever cage does duty as gaol, helicopter and the containers of Camp Bastion, and it’s glossily lit. The choreography nods to the marching rhythms without taking the mickey, but is also contemporary, exciting and tightly danced.
There’s space for it to be more adventurous musically and politically to match its subject, but this is an ambitious project that takes a different view of some sophisticated questions about being young, famous – and a father.
Kelly Byrne: Lucie Jones.
Kyle Gibson: Aaron Sidwell.
Luke Gibson: David J Higgins.
Mike Gibson: Marc Mulcahey.
Tutu: Hayley Ainsley.
Disco: Omari Bernard.
Bolly: Emma Franklin.
Beat: Simeon John-Wake.
Mac: Chris Neuman.
Ice: Heather Scott-Martin.
MC: Daniel 7.
Magic: Sarah Wilkie.
Director: Joe Harmston.
Cesigner/Costume: Sean Cavanagh.
Lighting: Ben Cracknell.
Sound Ben Harrison.
Choreographer: Natalie Murdoch.