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Edinburgh Fringe 2009

Scott Mills The Musical

BBC Radio 1

Venue: Pleasance 1


Low Down


Reading the programme for Scott Mills the Musical, it states that the concept started out as a joke, with the Radio One viewers submitting the storylines for what is essentially a gag and a series of ‘in jokes’. Yet surprisingly rather than a whole lot of gags that wouldn’t necessarily transfer from radio to stage Scott Mills The Musical is well put together with a strong, consistent storyline and a decent amount of original songs coupled with parodied reprises and all the elements you need to make a musical work, and the audience went completely wild for it.




A smorgasbord of pop culture, there are references to the Hoff, and in actual fact he is very appropriately cast in the role of the narrator. This is coupled with references to Sir Alan of The Apprentice fame parodied as ‘Sir Andy’, big boss of the Radio 1, along with spoofs of Britain’s Got Talent including the inevitable reference to Susan Boyle and former Blue boy band member (playing himself) Antony Kosta. Unless you were completely and utterly oblivious to everything going on in the media which is near on impossible here in the UK, and if even if you were it is highly doubtful you would be interested in seeing Scott Mills The Musical, the audience are able to follow at least one of the references.

Scott Mills The Musical has clearly had time and energy lavished on it, yet not necessarily the money thrown at it which makes it surprisingly engaging and worthy of attention. The cast are solid, some of whom were picked ‘reality television style’ on radio, some are actually a part of the BBC, and even Scott Mills makes a guest appearance as The Hoff.

The production is put together well, and the songs are by and large well rehearsed and well performed, making this musical pleasantly and unexpectedly entertaining.  The staging, dancing, and choreography were simple, yet effective. There were some slight problems with the video projection which are likely to be ironed out and essentially the video imagery of the Hoff narrating could have been bigger to give him more of a presence.

The fact that the radio show audience sent in the stories that made up the final storylines for the musical’s script ensures this show maintains full backing from their key audience. However the support of Tim Minchin and the Showstopper’s team confirms their credibility as a theatre production, and ensures that this musical is likely to carry beyond the Edinburgh Fringe. Its high quality theatrical values and talented cast, provide the chance for this show thrive rather than just ending up as a gimmick. 

The character called ‘the man that doesn’t speak’ was a little confusing at the beginning, however theatrically he added elements to the musical which gave it weight. His storyline had a natural and fitting climax and added depth to the show, creating an unexpected and genuinely entertaining love interest story that didn’t take away from the main plot line, but rather positively pushed it along to a natural conclusion.

YMCA and the Village People sung instead as RADIO rather than in its orginal form is predictable, but somehow becomes the hit of the show and is reprised later emphasising its catchy rhythm and slick choreography. In fact the choreography and the clever play on words in general in the show ensure that it maintains a sense of credibility under the gags.

Patrick Wilde directs this show with professionalism and as a result the audience leaves with a clear imprint of Scott Mills in their mind. Scott Mills The Musical hits its mark and maybe, the ‘non theatre going’ audience might go and see some more theatre because of it. It didn’t matter that not everyone can or will get all of the jokes, because actually Scott Mills The Musical has all the theatrical elements in place that a good musical requires. Catchy and original songs like ‘Pinot Grigio’ and ‘We’re Not Allowed’ coupled with their more’ lifted’ counterparts; parodied versions of ‘I Dreamed A Dream’ and ‘YMCA’ definitely give Scott Mills The Musical more originality and weight.

Across the board Scott Mills The Musical is well acted, good fun to watch, appeals to a wide range of audiences. Where it suffers a little is that it has the potential to appeal to a non theatre going audience, meaning it encounters the danger of ending up as a gimmick, however it still has the potential to go forward and play easily in London and tour the country simply because it maintains a high quality theatricality which makes it suitable for a variety of audiences.  It has life beyond the Fringe because it has the ability to publicise itself uniquely as it already has done, via the medium of Radio One which rests to some extent on the power of celebrity. However as a result of the quality of the production, word of mouth in the theatre world could ensure Scott Mills The Musical goes far. Impressive must keep an eye out show for the future. After seeing the musical the real radio show might even, curiously be worth a listen…Could this reviewer be a new fan perhaps?

Note: This show has sold out before it even started its run and will release limited tickets each day! If you can’t wait that long; tune in to watch it online at the Radio One website.