Fringe Online 2021
Composer and lyricist, Musical Director, Co-Arranger, Pianist Alexander S Bermange, Directed and choreographed by Chris Whittaker, Co-Arranger Jerome van den Berghe. Lighting Clancy Flynn
Video team: ShootMedia Executive Producer Elliott Cranmer, Producer Joshua Valanzuolo, Production Manager Nishita Ruparelia, DOP Harry Andrews, Camera Operator Adam Newland, Sound Recordist Jack Sandham, Editor Dom Ellis. Sound Engineer Guy Henderson. Recorded live at King’s Head Theatre March 30th 2021.
Till May 12th
Asked about Hamlet, the mythical cabby said ‘it’s full of quotations’ and this musical not only flings them in your face, it’s melodically original enough to carry anything. Alexander S Bermange’s I Wish My Life Were Like a Musical makes you feel it should be, at least for an hour.
Starring a wondrous quartet – Luke Bayer, Charlotte O’Rourke, Lucas Rush, Charlotte Anne Steen- it’s a wild ride through auditions and dreams or bumpy if not rocky stardom is all here. It’s 42nd Street by lightning told post-show. Those embarrassing moments when you say what you think of crotch-scratching panels, and those off-notes…. Or a show-stopping gargle refrain.
The title song’s nailed by Steen who like O’Rourke possesses a soaring soprano, just one highlight. All the songs are witty, rolling with every story you can imagine about life in a musical, including the soprano’s bad breath and the tenor’s sweat as the director enforces them to a real snog. The internal monologues reveal … well one of them is. And fandom, what to do? Especially if bizarrely, you might fall for him? Stand by your fan?
Bayer’s the appealing young lead, Rush with a deeper baritonal register is the characterful singer (he of the gargle) who reminds one of Flanders from Flanders and Swan; they’re excellently contrasted.
Steen’s vocal comedy, both in lyricism and irony is infectious, with a confiding gift for storytelling – and an appealing depth of expression as in ‘The Diva’s in the How’. O’Rourke’s high-lying soprano is at the service of an appealing kooky lyricism in ‘I Love to Sing’. The comedy here lies in hearing her sing blissfully off-tune, a virtuoso quick-step for the tonsils – invoking Florence Foster Jenkins but with an explosive fortissimo. Both possess both wonderful vocal instruments with every kick of music-theatre character.
. There’s some lovely ensemble singing ringing contrasts. Bermange is superb at making the most of vocal shadings and – on this showing – small ensembles in a way suggesting he’s superb in large ones. In his multiple roles here it’s clearly very much creatively his show, but as he intends your focus is on these four young stars. And the quartet finale’s utterly heart-warming. And it’s over. Then – not quite. We’ve got a fizzing narrational epilogue. ‘you can’t end the show without an encore…’ ‘even if you don’t want one’ (you will). Flawless, a stunning pocket-sized musical you really must see.