I saw ‘Working a Musical’ at the Southwark Playhouse on 1st July 2017. With composers Stephen Schwartz and Lin-Manuel Miranda I knew it would be interesting and well told but I was blown away by the level of storytelling and acting as well as the super score.
The stage was tiny but well used throughout. Every element had been thought through from the lighting, set, simple props and highly detailed costumes. I loved how close and intimate the theatre was and will definitely be going back.
The actors each play several characters throughout the show. Each one telling about their job and ‘work’. The change in mood from each character was fantastic. From the bitter firefighter to the downtrodden stay-at-home mum. The waitress to the teacher, stone mason to the mill worker. I loved how the actors changed their characters so well and made each one utterly convincing.
Krysten Cummings completely stood out in her stay-at-home mum character singing ‘Just a Housewife’. She played the character very convincingly and her facial expressions were completely believable.
I also loved Peter Polycarpou’s stone mason and retired man characters. he was able to 100% change his acting to the suit the character and you completely believed it despite very minimal costume, set and prop changes. His voice was superb too and again had the audience captivated.
Liam Tamne was equally funny and honest too and lightened the mood in between some hard hitting characters for whom ‘working’ was not all it was cracked up to be.
Siubhan Harrison, who I have seen lots of times previously, was on top form again. her vocals were fantastic and I personally loved the ‘Millwork’ song as it really showed off her emotions.
Gillian Bevan’s school teacher was really funny. As a teacher myself I found myself relating with what she said even though I have only been teaching for 8 years – already in that time things have changed and we are losing sight of what teaching is and how to teach children, not robots. She is clearly a talented actress and has been in a lot of shows and this was evident as she transformed into different roles.
Dean Chisnall’s firefighter really caught my attention. His commitment to the character was evident and I loved how the lights were off and he was illuminated by the torches of the ensemble.
Which brings me to the ensemble. Patrick Coulter, Nicola Espallardo, Luke Latchman, Izuka Hoyle, Huon Mackley and Kerri Norville are all fresh from drama school and this is their professional debut. What a debut! All of the ensemble were crucial throughout the show and the commitment they gave to each part of the show was outstanding. I personally found myself watching Kerri and Izucka. As I was walking out I heard people around me saying ‘wasn’t the one with her hair up good?’ or ‘that young guy was great’. I am sure these young performers will have great careers if this show was anything to go by. Their singing, stage presence, dancing and acting was on top form and I would not know that this was their first professional show!
The choreography by Fabian Aloise was fantastic! Drew McOnie was in the audience when I saw it and I am sure he would have said the same. The way that the actors used the stage and were able to communicate with the whole audience was amazing. I loved the subtle dance sections and movement in between characters dialogue and songs. It felt natural and yet was clearly well rehearsed to perfection.
This show ends on 8th July 2017. I definitely could see it coming back to the West-End at some point as it has had nothing but good comments made. I was unsure what to expect. After all who wants to watch an hour and a half of people talking about their jobs? But the solid storytelling, acting and score made it irresistible and I would completely recommend it!