I Wish My Life Were Like a Musical – KHTV

Reviewer: Maryam Philpott

Writer: Alexander S Bermange

Director: Chris Whittaker

You unexpectedly burst into song at random moments, strangers in the street automatically know your dance routines and perform them with you, and you unexpectedly acquire lifelong friends on every journey you take – yes, your life is like a musical. But if it’s not, then Alexander S Bermange’s 60-minute show, newly recorded by the Kings Head Theatre and uploaded to KHTV, will show you all the pitfalls as you make it from audition to rapturous encore.

Across more than a dozen songs, I Wish My Life Were Like a Musical comedically reveals what life is really like for a wannabe musical theatre star. From being overlooked at auditions to dealing with divas, the exhaustion of complicated choreography to being the audience-disappointing understudy, this hilarious show suggests that it’s all worth it really.

Filmed in the empty King’s Head Theatre and performed by Luke Bayer, Charlotte O’Rourke, Lucas Rush and Charlotte Anne Steen, the show begins with a coordinated number that jokingly mocks the style of the classic opening set as the already distracted audience known they are in for a long night at a terrible show, before it spools back to look at the whole sorrowful process from the beginning.

Bermange has found just the right tone for his show, one that manages to be too outrageous to be believed while you also know it’s probably quite close to home. This is a very clever pastiche, styled as a sung-through user guide to a musical theatre career, with each number taking the aspiring starlet onto the next set of challenges as they build their profile.

Every song has something new to contribute and Bermange draws on different scores and styles to create variety across the music. Some of the best focus on the quirks of fellow performers including I Love to Sing, brilliantly performed by Charlotte O’Rourke who hilariously plays an out-of-her-depth lead whose memory, tuning and timing falter continually. O’Rourke’s expression is superb, showcasing her vocal and emotional range.

She also has great fun as another leading lady with a stalker in a great duet with Lucas Rush, When a Fan Loves a Woman, that manages to be both fun and creepy. Charlotte Anne Steen leads Diva in the House about a powerful star whose ego dominates a production, while Luke Bayer amusingly captures the frustration of being the thankless understudy in the Sondehim-like Standing By where only boredom or a hostile audience await.

Director and choreographer Chris Whittaker keeps the energy up by varying the pace of the show, enhancing the mix of solos, duets and full cast numbers with dance routines that draw on energetic tap and chorus line styles while using the four performers to provide backing vocals in some sections while Bermange plays the entire show on a piano.

The small King’s Head stage only needs a couple of cameras providing a wide and close-up option which suits the warm first-person guided tour style and the delightful cast performances. A tongue-in-cheek celebration of the song and dance show, if you ever wished your life were like a musical then this new recording for KHTV will be unmissable.

Runs here until 12 May 2021

The Reviews Hub Score

Delightful performances

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The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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