Posts Tagged ‘The Eel Brook’

I missed this show on its brief visit to Trafalgar Studios, so it was good to catch it here at London Theatre Workshop’s new home above The Eel Brook pub in Parson’s Green.

Without a book, this is more songspiel than musical, though you learn as much about its characters as you do in many book musicals. Four young New Yorkers, a couple and two singles, navigate their city entirely in song. Jason and Claire are moving in together, so we see the uneasy first stage of their co-habitation. Deb and Warren meet when he finds her post-graduate notes and seeks to reunite them with their owner. In Jason & Adam’s apartment and in other locations around the city, they sing eighteen songs, mostly as solos but some in combination.

It’s nicely set, surrounded by NYC street signs with a handful of props, by director Ray Rackham and the unbroken score is played extremely well on piano, on stage by Thomas Lees. Four-hander chamber musicals like this are common currency in the US but the music of this Adam Gwon show seeems a cut above to me and it’s particularly sharp lyrically. The songs were very well sung by Oliver Watton & Marcia Brown and Olga-Marie Pratt & Anton Tweedale, the latter pairing with better characterisations (probably more to do with writing than performance).

Theatre Workshop have an exciting programme over the next four months, strong in musical theatre, but they may have to soften the venue’s natural acoustic which is a bit unkind to this type of show. A great start at a welcome new venue, though (and a very good pub!).

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