This is a concert of Drew Gasparini’s song-cycle rather than a musical. Each song has its own story but there is no narrative to link them into a cohesive story. We get unrequited and requited love, adolescent angst, pregnancy, despair, coming out and even a delicious celebration by a serial killer. This makes it hard for the singers to engage us; although each is excellent, there is little progression to build to a climax. It was a relief to have two characters reappear: Tom and Lucy, initially confessing their school-day love by letter then discovering pregnancy and the responsibility of parenthood in four songs which tracked their story. Two Little Lines was a powerful cry of confusion.
On a simple stage, seven musicians play at least 17 instruments plus various keyboard voices – imaginatively orchestrated, they were the core of this show. I would have liked them to feature more. The nine singers worked hard to sell their songs. Some had clearer diction than others, which was key in following the storylines in the lyrics.
The final song in each half saw them working together in a big number led by Billy Nevers. “You’ve got the good stuff” was a crowd rouser to take us into the interval, while “Overboard” closed the evening with panache.
If you are a fan of Gasparini, you will love this show.