[title of show]

Date 26th May 2022
Society Overton Dramatic Society
Venue St Mary's Hall, Overton
Type of Production Musical
Director Alice Ellingham
Musical Director Frank Bell
Stage Manager Ian Llewellyn

Report

Author: Chris Horton

[Title of Show] was a musical about writing a musical and is performed by two actors, the writers, and two actresses who are the performers. Plays about putting on a play and musicals about putting on a musical are nothing new. But one about actually writing, producing and casting a production?  That is something new (at least to me). The two writers are Jeff Bowen and Hunter Bell and the action takes place in a variety of imaginary settings while actually remaining in their apartments. Jeff Bowen wrote the music and lyrics and Hunter Bell wrote the book.

There was a well-crafted set, designed by director, Alice Ellingham, comprising two New York apartments. Hunter’s apartment (the writer) has books and a typewriter and Geoff’s side has various musical instruments such as a banjo and ukulele.   

The costumes were well thought out and in keeping with the characters, with casual clothes for the writers and performers.     

An excellent use of lighting and voicemail messages between scenes, made it easy to follow the action. The cast were all in fine voice, sounded terrific with solos, harmonies and a range of emotional, quieter and slower songs and upbeat numbers. Frank Bell as the Musical Director provided accompaniment (and the occasional line when permitted!) and the timing was good.   Their American accents were largely successful; some more convincing than others.   Occasionally, the accent, made it difficult to follow the dialogue.       

This was a challenging show for a small cast but the talent both on and off the stage was evident.  There was a huge amount of content to cover and it was full of clever lyrics and loaded with in-joke references to other musicals and reflections on fame and art. The struggling writers, under pressure to complete the show with an insane deadline (three weeks), is hilarious in places and bittersweet in others. There is strong language, insecurity, jealousy as the show progresses the four learn about themselves; the joy and heartbreak of collaboration. The success of ‘[title of show]’ is dependent on Alice Ellingham as director building a team committed to working collaboratively (as within the show) with dedication and energy. Her faith in her cast was well placed.   It was a massive undertaking for a small cast and with support from the director and crew, Overton DS can add ‘[title of show]’ to their list of successes.