Review: Catch Me, Above the Arts

“We’re all hurting”

The traditional image of musical theatre as clap-happy tap-dancing extravaganzas is one that still persists, even whilst musicals about living with cancer play at the National Theatre. And it is something that clearly occupies writers Arnoud Breitbarth and Christian Czornyj, as their introduction in the programme for their new show Catch Me tackles this issue head on. 

For Catch Me is a musical based around male suicide, the mental health struggles that lead people to such an act and the repercussions it has on those left behind. And pleasingly, Breitbarth and Czornyj show a strong understanding of the musical form and its storytelling potential. Here, songs tumble out of the characters, depicting their mental state, an organic extension of the story that really works, especially in the stronger first half. Continue reading “Review: Catch Me, Above the Arts”

Review: Musical of the Year, LOST

“I yearn as I burn”

Stephen Lanigan-O’Keeffe and Owain Rose’s Musical of the Year pops up as something of a surprise, a genuinely funny musical theatre extravaganza in the mould of something like Forbidden Broadway as it parodies any number of big musicals from the last 60 years. The conceit is a simple one – the year is 1955 and college sweethearts Rudy Brown and Lizzie Conlon are looking for ways to update a musical they wrote together. They decide to ape the style of the big award-winning musical of the year and when that fails, Rudy tries time and time again.

Their show is based on The Hunchback of Notre Dame, so we’re instantly given a helping hand in terms of the story being told. But even then, there’s a clever advancement of the travails of Quasimodo, Esmeralda et al that brings real interest to the songs, in addition to the pastiches that they engender. There’s an occasional urge to overegg the pudding in terms of making sure we ‘get’ it (the shows referenced are all in the programme) but if you can resist, there’s real joy in working out what’s coming next and its plot will be intertwined with the events of the show. Continue reading “Review: Musical of the Year, LOST”