Writer: James Wilson-Taylor, Jessica Spray
Director: Benjamin Occhipinti
Reviewer: Paul Downham
Why an official Doctor Who musical hasn’t been done before is a mystery. Judging by the exuberant audience at The Lowry tonight it would surely be a success. So for the time being we will have to make do with this wonderful offering from Stormy Tea Cup Theatre Limited.
Starting as a 15 minute excerpt in 2012 this show has grown to a 70 minute comedy sci-fi romp and played the Edinburgh Fringe to sold out audiences for the last two years, winning the Musical Theatre Network award for Best Newcomer in 2013.
Reminiscent of the original Doctor Who series with flimsy props and monsters that wouldn’t scare a 3 year old, this show has all the Who elements but due to an ongoing tongue and cheek fear of being shut down by the BBC things have been changed to protect copyright!
The two-handed show begins with Jessica Spray who plays the assistant reading a letter received from original Doctor Who creator Steven Moffat forbidding the show to go ahead as it infringed copyright. So the musical was rewritten an hour before curtain up to ‘be different, but the same’.
After leaving scores of answer phone messages to past cast members of the original series we hear some of the responses played back. Less than convincing impersonations of these cast members all refusing to take part sets a hilarious tone for the night.
There is a sonic screwdriver, a Tardis, Cyberman, Dalek and K-9 but due to the earlier issues following the letter from Mr Moffat all the names had changed to ‘be different, but the same’.
James Wilson-Taylor is the star of the show playing every rôle except the assistant with an abundance of energy any time traveller would be proud of. With numerous costume changes and voices to tackle it is a wonder at times he didn’t lose where he was up to in the show.
Musically, as with the story, all the songs were parodies of famous hit musicals songs with the Masters rap and the Les Mis homage being standout moments. While vocally both Taylor and Spray were not note perfect, this doesn’t seem to matter in the slightest.
While this show stands tall on its own, a knowledge of the Doctor Who series and musical theatre is a huge plus point allowing the audience to fully appreciate all the jokes. I Need a Doctor is a joyful evening full of fun and music, with just a touch of madness.
Reviewed on 6th February 2015