Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Cathy is struggling to kick-start her career. Jamie is fending off work. Opposites attract.
This one-act musical explores the emotional turmoil of a relationship between a young writer whose star is in the ascendant and a young actress whose career is struggling to even get off the ground. And, in an unusual twist, the couple tell their tale from opposite ends of their relationship with Cathy working back through their five years together and Jamie working forward.
Written and composed by Jason Robert Brown, the plot is simple enough : boy meets girl, falls in love, they get married but drift apart quickly as girl’s career stalls, boy’s gallops ahead, leading him into the land of temptation to which he inevitably succumbs. And the piece has almost a Lloyd-Webber feel to it as the two actors relay their experiences through a series of solo pieces, only actually coming together at the moment of their wedding.
We get two fine performances from Tabitha Tingey as Cathy and Ben Cork as Jamie. Both have good voices – she soprano, him tenor – with a range that suits the piece, together with tonal quality and an excellent interpretation of the music they were singing. They both have real stage presence and are clearly in tune with the emotions that their characters are experiencing – joy and excitement at the start of the relationship, sadness, bitterness, anger at the end of it and genuine tenderness and love in the middle. And the trick of starting them at the opposite ends of their time together ensures that there is continual variety in the music.
Pianist Charlie Penn was also a class act, playing with real empathy and emotion. The tight stage didn’t worry the performers either as they made full use of the space available and excellent use of the fourth wall as a means of drawing the audience into the story. Lighting was also spot on and even rose to the challenge of breaking the small space into two distinct areas on a couple of occasions.
We might have covered the ground that we did in a little less time – the show ran for nearly ninety minutes – but that aside, this was an excellent piece of musical theatre from two very talented and charismatic performers. Unfortunately, like a lot of shows reviewed at this point in the Fringe, this one played its last performance today so a recommendation to go see it is rather academic. But keep an eye out for these two as they are sure to be in demand as performers in the future.