Writers: Mark Chatterton & Sarah M Nixon
You would have to have been living under a rock the past 18 months to not realise just what a massive hit live entertainment and theatre has taken during the current pandemic, so it is with a mighty welcome and an awful lot of admiration to find the creative team behind the Everyman’s Rock N Roll pantomime self-producing one of the first pieces of live theatre in the region.
Starring familiar faces The Show Must Go On is an original, tongue in cheek musical romp that re-imagines Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers. Writers Mark Chatterton and Sarah M Nixon, have embodied plenty of laughs and perhaps a lot more innuendo than we may have been expecting, but the interesting element here is that all the music is original, unlike its Panto big sister. This is perhaps the shows weakest element – yes there are some great songs, but they are let down by a poor sound mix, which often hides vocals under overloud backing tracks. I understand that an outdoor musical is not the easiest to mix considering the incredible amount of city centre noise the production has to contend with, but it almost seems superfluous when you can’t hear the lyrics. Well known songs that the audience could instantly connect with and not matter too much with unheard lyrics may have helped.
Performances are on the whole larger than life and provide plenty of energy especially Steph Hockely as Aramis and Constance. Danny Burns brings plenty of rubber faced gymnastics and vocal tomfoolery to his multitude of characters, especially his camp King Randolf. Adam Keast delights as director Gareth stepping in to play many of the roles that need to be portrayed. Completing the cast is Peter Mooney as DartOnion and Penelope McDonald as Dame Tamzin De Hoot.
You can’t help but be taken in by the madcap antics of the cast, who are literally battling the elements to ensure the audience have a real hoot, and the show provides plenty to enjoy – at times moments feel a little laboured and a slight cut here and there could help the pace of the show really fly.
Overall, The Show Must Go On, is an enjoyable evening of live entertainment, providing plenty of laughs and excellent performances and fundemantly does what it says on the tin, one just hopes that show has a life past this initial run, where it can be workshopped a bit more and gives us a production it most certainly has the promise to be.
Runs until 30 May 2021