UKIP: The Musical

Thu 26th – Fri 27th February 2015

reviews

Elizabeth Crowdy

at 12:41 on 25th Feb 2015

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Watching UKIP: The Musical plough through the inevitable hiccups of a tech run in Girton Old Hall was a bizarre previewing experience. It was by no means polished, but revealed a potential refreshing to see in a piece of original, student written theatre.

Using a live band adds an exciting performance dynamic to this show, which, paired with Girton’s shiny new lighting rig, creates a professional foundation for the play. The band are alert and responded well to the performers mistakes in the rehearsal, a reassuring aspect of the performance. The adaptations of Disney classics such as ‘I’ll Make a Man Out of You’ and ‘Colours of the Wind’ add a tongue-in-cheek note to the party meetings, and continue the running theme of this show not taking itself too seriously.

The band underscores some capable singers, with Leya Cristina Beidas’ powerful rendition of ‘I Want You Back’ giving musical life to the editorial office of the Daily Star, and Vineet Naik’s range lifting to the final number to new heights of ensemble singing.

The acting is generally strong, with some fine satirical representations. Adam Woolf’s Nick Clegg is gloriously pathetic, and Lucinda Jones’ Liberty Rose is unnervingly deranged in her interactions with undercover reporter Rashid. Ruari Bride’s facial expressions as David Silvester were a personal highlight, especially with the addition of a piece of fruit in the final scene. His David Dimbleby also provides a much needed note of sanity to the outlandish political broadcast, and centres the satirical madness whilst retaining the hilarious expressions. The interactions between the characters were largely believable, and the dialogue between Nigel Farage and his wife (Ben James and Sophie von Einsiedel) presented an amusing if unrealistic absurdity.

The success of this production partially lies in the attention to detail. Mannerisms such as the simultaneous leg-crossing of UKIP 1 and UKIP 2 and not-so-subtle glaring at Nick Clegg from David Cameron create interest behind the main dialogues, and in the case of the latter, make Ed Miliband seem even more irrelevant and feeble. Patrick Wilson’s mindless, downtrodden assistant in the editor’s office adds depth to the production, despite the small role, and his timing and delivery claim some of the most comic moments in the production.

There are many aspects of this show which need some ironing out: in the tech run, the dialogue was not as snappy as it needed to be to realise the comic potential of the writing, which created several unnecessarily awkward moments. Sentences and sung phrases occasionally got lost, and the music struggled to keep in time with the singers in the absence of a conductor, meaning the songs sometimes dragged. However, I have faith that this show will pull together into a fantastic performance for the opening night on Thursday 26th February. The audience can look forward to an enjoyable if slightly surreal experience, with some truly funny moments.

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Elizabeth Crowdy; 25th Feb 2015; 13:42:49

N.B. There will be a conductor on the night.

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