Home / Musical / Stand Up the Musical – Floral Pavilion, New Brighton

Stand Up the Musical – Floral Pavilion, New Brighton

Book/Music/Lyrics : Daryl Denham &Maurice Cheetham

Director: Anthony Williams

Reviewer: John Roberts


Stand_Up_The_MusicalDid you hear about the world premiere musical in New Brighton starring Darren Day, Billy Pearce, Lionel Blair and Dean Sullivan? I wish there was a punch line to the start of that joke, but like the production itself, it lacks humour, lacks originality and above all, for a musical, it lacks musicality.

Written by the duo behind the Crazy Frog single (yes you did read that right!) Stand Up the Musical should have been left on the shelf, a massive musical mis-fire if ever there was one. Denham and Cheetham laden the script with sexist, misogynistic jokes, that weren’t even funny in the 80s, and their lyrics leave little to the imagination, innuendo filled rhyming couplets abound throughout leaving what is a talented cast with little to get to grips with other than two dimensional characters and a plot so thin and derivative, it makes Eastenders look like a masterpiece in fiction – and do I dare mention the horrible and poor quality backing tracks that the cast have to compete with? Oh it seems I already have!

Three comedians at different stages of their career all battle for love, while ultimately battling each other for their moment in the limelight, Tony Monroe (Day) is the womanizing host of Totally Saturday Night, Owain Williams is the young rising star Scott Thomas and Pearce plays aging gay comic Stan Chester.

While the premise of the piece is interesting its execution is less so. Director Anthony Williams has gained a critical reputation as director of the Floral pantomimes, but here his direction lacks clarity and attention to detail (a contract with no text, two paramedics carrying a stretcher made of two planks of wood and a sheet) this production screams CHEAP at the top of its lungs and never lets you forget it too from the low level set design to the abysmal lighting design.

The only saving grace of this production is the cast. Billy Pearce gives his all to the rôle of Stan, his routine at the top of act 2 bringing the entire audience into roars of laughter for near on ten minutes – it’s no surprise to find that this is in-fact his own material and not written by the shows creators. Owain Williams is strong as Scott Thomas and has a crystal clear singing voice, while a comic cameo from Dean Sullivan as the owner of The Comedy Hut Bob Fletcher brings some much needed relief. Credit must also be given to Devon-Elise Johnson who gives a strong turn as Scott Thomas’ pregnant fiancé and Natalie Harman as her larger than life best friend.

At £25 a ticket Stand Up the Musical is the biggest and probably most expensive joke going, save yourself the time and effort and cross the water to see a musical that will really give you value for your money and guarantee you a night at the theatre you will never forget, for all the right reasons.

Runs until Sat 7th September

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  1. Darren Oliver

    Wasn’t expecting much from this show, after I was invited along by a friend. I was very surprised how good the cast were. Billy Pearce was by far the stand out ‘stand up’ in the show. Had the theatre in stitches! Lionel Blair is a legend and it’s a coup that they’ve got him in the show. Darren Day is a pro and Dean Sullivan a fine actor. The supporting cast were great too! All in all, it was a good night.

  2. Caroline Amberly

    I could not disagree more with this review. I went to see Stand Up last night, and I thought it was bloody fantastic. A great premise – watch the drama unfold behind the scenes of a comedy club, a big TV show and the Royal Variety, and then get to see the stand-up routines themselves as if you were the audiences.
    The Cast were superb. There were obvious stand out performances – since when has Darren Day not been a bankable act, but I was astonished by the high quality of the new talent. Scott Thomas and his Fiance Emma were played with incredible gusto, and there was none of the tragic mugging at the audience that I’ve seen in some of the West End’s pieces (Dreamboats and petticoats anyone?). The singing was on a par with anything I have seen in huge West End productions – who knew Billy Pearce was such an alrl-rounder? For me, he was the stand-out performer. Flipping from tragically sad to comically cruel in a heartbeat, here’s a man who’s lived this life and understands the character.He belts out the numbers like his life depended on it, I was rocked back by just how fantastic he was.
    The music was good too. It’s easy to pick and poke at a musical that is such a new project, but the songs are still in my head and I only heard them last night for thr first time. Yes, the sets could have been a little grander, but when a production is run of a budget, which this one clearly is, then I’d rather the sets were sacrificed in favour of such quality talent of the cast. Who wants all style and no substance? Instead, what you get is a far more intimate feel, and especially when you get towards the gritty emotional last quarter, you feel like you are one of thee privileged few to have witnessed such a fantastic project at a grass-roots level. Well done to all involved, a stand out performance and I will be astonished if it is not picked up for tours or the West End.

  3. I was looking forward to Stand Up – The musical and went to see it mainly because of the cast. I was really disappointed and felt it was somehow very disjointed and lacking in content. I agree the props were not good, especially the stretcher which looked as though it was from the trenches of WWI. The fight scene was gratuitous – there is already too much violence in the world.

    I made a comment today that the general acting reminded me of a panto and was not surprised to learn that Anthony Williams, the director, was in fact director of pantomime at the Floral.

    We left as soon as there was a break!

  4. Mentioning the Crazy Frog without highlighting Maurice Cheetham’s other achievements is a cheap shot. Google his name or mention his name to any musician worth their salt and see what answer you get.

    Maurice is an prolific Jazz, Rock and classical musician and has performed with bands and orchestras (Liverpool Philharmonic, Halle, BBC, etc) live and on TV all over the world. He is also an excellent composer, arranger and conductor. His work has probably been on TV and/or radio around 100 times in the time it has taken me to write this post.