Nick Le Mesurier reviews The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!) at the Talisman Theatre, Kenilworth
Musicals are nothing if not done over the top. And The Musical of Musicals is gloriously, charmingly, cleverly, hilariously over the top. It's a series of five short parodies / homages to the great musicals of our time. Oklahoma, Evita, Phantom, Cabaret and many, many more are all there.
It could be an awful mess, but it's not. The script is sharp, the jokes are fast, the music is divine, and the cast - well the cast are just brilliant. They sing, they dance, they perform with gusto. It's huge fun, and I left the theatre with my eyes wet from laughing. I haven't done that in a while.
Each of the five scenes follow the same basic plot. June (Kim Arnold) is an ingenue who can't pay the rent she owes to her lascivious landlord Jidder (Kenny Robinson). In lieu of rent he is prepared to accept certain favours from June, but thankfully her hero boyfriend Willy (Kevin Wing) is on hand to help. Only he hasn't any money either. Still, there's always worldly advice to be had from Mother Abby (Val Whitlock).
The humour is dark, sometimes very dark. The scenes stretch from the wide-open plains of Kansas to a dank and dreary New York apartment filled with hopeless artists. There's a high society ball and a palace; and there's a deliciously decadent cabaret. And all done on a virtually bare stage, supported by the witty and eloquent musicality of Liam Walker.
For all its natural flamboyance this is theatre in the raw. It's marvellous fun and thoroughly recommended.
* The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!) runs until Saturday March 17. Visit talismantheatre.co.uk to book.