It’s a breath of fresh air to watch something as ambitious – perhaps too ambitious – as The Untold Theatre Company’s brand-new full-length original musical, Grim
Grim and Cupid’s romance suffers from a rushed and undeveloped feel
It’s a promising set-up with endless potential for both comedy and heart. Sadly, writer Fiona O’Malley struggles to tick these boxes with a script lacking in sincerity, conviction and at times even clarity. Grim and Cupid’s romance suffers from a rushed and undeveloped feel, as the two share a mere handful of conversations together through out the entire show. The script fails to give clear insight – and thus any true measure of believability – into its leading couple’s relationship, making it difficult to invest in them. You’re told they’re in love, rather than shown the why’s and how’s of it. Like a horror movie that doesn’t scare you, this is a romance that doesn’t move you.
The logic of crucial plot points is also questionable; contemporary vocabulary and mini-skirted uniforms point to a modern-day setting, yet Grim’s entire class believes upon meeting her that she is a witch and attempts to burn her at the stake (in 21st century Britain, really?). Perhaps it’s an allegory, but if so, a few more subtle hints to that fact wouldn’t go amiss.
In spite of this, however, Grim certainly does offer a showcase of spectacular vocal talent within its cast. Leading lady Roseanna Christoforou, in the title role, sends shivers down the spine with her powerhouse belt, whilst Anthony Matteo provides a perfect contrast with his warm, soulful tenor. Georgi Mottram, in the role of Grim’s new found friend Amelia, is also blessed with a sweet and endearing voice. Additionally, the ensemble makes for a vocal force to reckon with, throwing one-hundred and ten per cent into every song and creating a haunting wall of sound that’s worthy of any West End show.
Speaking of songs, composer Joseph Alexander’s original soundtrack carries the show along well – though perhaps slightly fewer numbers in the second act would leave more time for relationship development –and there’s a particularly lovely number entitled She Said Yes that will leave you beaming in your seat. Whilst the lyrics occasionally lack subtlety (“I am evil, E-V-I-L!” sings Grim at one point), it’s hard not to enjoy a score ringing with such enthusiasm and good intent.
Over all, Grim makes for an enjoyable, if slightly frustrating night out at the theatre. The potential is there and the soundtrack is certainly worth an iTunes download – but if the two mighty forces of Love and Death really are destined for each other they have a bit of a way to go yet. This is a show that definitely needs a few cob webs dusting off before it comes out of the attic. Perhaps then Grim really will be a love story to die for.