Friday, 20 November 2009

Jest End - Jermyn Street Theatre. London

Jest End
Writer/Director: Gary Lake
Musical Supervisor: Gareth Ellis
Choreographer: Rebecca Howell
Musical Director: Bob Broad

Reviewer: Elizabeth Vile

If you are a fan of Musical Theatre, know a bit about the current situation of the West End and enjoy watching actors lovingly send up their profession then this is the show for you.

The Jermyn Street Theatre is the perfect space for this production which only uses the bare essentials. With a cast of four actors, two male & two female, a pianist and a variety of costumes the audience are presented with a high paced selection of songs from the musicals that are either currently in the West End or have recently closed.

The intimate nature of the theatre meant that every word could be heard. This is particularly important when the audience have no idea what the lyrics are going to be and because the success of the songs all depend on the audience hearing the punch lines.

The enthusiasm and enjoyment of the actors was faultless and they all looked tired by the end of the show. This exuberance was contagious and enhanced the enjoyment of the audience by making them feel comfortable. The laughter was constant throughout and the jokes, which ranged from themes of reality TV to the trials of an undiscovered actor, were fresh and relevant.

Some stand out performances for me were Michael Ball and Me, a parody of Good Morning Baltimore from the musical Hairspray performed by Chris Thatcher, Jodie Jacobs and Laura Brydon. Special mention must go to Chris Thatcher's impersonation of Michael Ball in this number, it had me giggling, as well as his performance of John Barrowman in I Am Barrowman, a parody of I am what I am from La Cage aux Folles.

Superchoredodgitastic which included the above three actors and Stuart Matthew Price, was a brilliant way to close the first act. Its slick choreography and witty lyrics left the audience on a high. The high point for me in the second act was the song Savoy which charted the Savoy Theatre's recent history.

This show may not be for everyone as it has many 'in' jokes about the West End Theatre scene that some people may not understand, but if Musical Theatre is an interest for you then you will have a very enjoyable night. The show was the perfect length and I left the theatre wanting more as well as singing the lyrics all the way home.

Photos from previous production
runs until Sun 20th Dec
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