There is a lot to like about this package.
Some of the most fun, entertaining music I’ve heard in a long while
Stop is about how seemingly disparate people, when brought together, can have similar paths. Four characters are trapped at a bus stop, and over time we learn that they are all struggling with a different form of mental illness. However, to say that this is the focus of the show is almost a disservice, because the core of it is the relationship between eccentric strangers: Chloe, Lewis, Justin and Martha. Some have more charm than others, notably Chloe and Lewis, but all the characters have at least a few moments when you smile at their fun antics. This charm carries over to the music, which is a delight every second it plays out. Lewis’ introduction is a good example of this; driving percussion, a strong guitar riff, and an energy that makes you want to just bop along to the rhythm of the song.
Apart from the music itself, most things are inclined to go at least somewhat awry. Vocals tended to be very strong during belty numbers and ballads, but faltered in smaller, more emotional songs. Acting, in the same way, tended to be inconsistent, apart from Chloe, played by Gemma Lowcock, who throughout led the energy on stage and, even more impressively, was able to restrain the nervous energy of her character in darker moments. Blocking tended to be a bit strange at times, especially when actors were leaving the stage, but was for the most part engaging and fun. While this lack of constancy doesn’t ruin the show, it keeps it from reaching its full potential.
Despite that, Stop is a very likeable show. It presents a complex story about the struggles of mental illness simply by exploring the intricacies of its characters. It has some of the most fun, entertaining music I’ve heard in a long while. Even if it may have faltered, it never truly lost its stride.