Monday, 2 November 2009

Blow Up! The Credit Crunch Musical - Kings Head/Leicester Sq Theatre

Blow Up! The Credit Crunch Musical
Writers: Charlie Talbot & Dunstan Kornicki
Director: Philip Talbot
Reviewer: Honour Bayes

The financial markets may be crashing and people may be at their lowest ebb in decades with the loss of years of savings staring them bleakly in the face, but can anything seem truly grey with an Oompah Band? It would appear not in this sweetly comic Edinburgh show which has pulled up its German socks to come to the big city.

Comedian Charlie Talbot’s delicately constructed German banker, Max Klein, takes us through the rise and fall of the financial markets in sentences which are as clipped as his accent is dodgy, all the while carrying the baleful look of a child who has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Peppered with classic song choices and Oompah inspired moments of genius, each stage of the ‘crash’ seems to have a pertinent song; in Klein’s world Britney Spears’ Toxic explains toxic mortgages and Dolly Parton jiggles us through the hectic hours of a banker’s 9 to 5 working day. Don’t even get me started on the genius of how the five members of Oompah Brass are used to make sense of debt derivatives.

It is a simplistic formula with chat following song too predictably for a consummate theatrical liking. But it’s hard not to fall for the charm of Max Klein and his 5 Oompah dwarfs (meant in the most affection way of course – these guys are fabulous). It helps that they are all impressive professionals, dazzling at points with financial quips and moments of brass arrangement that leave you with a permanent smile on your face.

An inspired parody sung by Klein of Paul Simon’s ‘You Can Call Me Al’ leaves you wishing for more of the same and one feels like this piece could have been done better with more time spent on integrating music with comedy lyric in this way. May be this would have transported this potential gem into a full blown London hit. But it remains true that they are a loveable lot who theatricalise the ludicrous nature of the orgy of greed with marvellous aplomb.

Enron it’s not, but it’s almost there; there’s a method in this German financial Oompah Band madness and once they understand how to bleed it for all its worth, much like the bankers they so gleefully lambast, God help all of us.

The show runs on different nights bewteen the Kings Head Theatre and The Leicester Square Theatre for more information Click Here.
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