It’s a shame “A Little Piece of Heaven” isn’t billed as a thriller, because it is most certainly horrifying. The rock musical follows Shanie (Angelica Hughes), a thirteen year-old who decides that a conspiracy organization known as New World Order is trying to take over the globe. Using various forms of social media, Shanie creates a group called ‘heaven’, which is dedicated to stopping New World Order. At the start of the 2012 London Olympics she and 14 other teenagers from ‘heaven’ camp out in Shanie’s house, in preparation for the New World Order takeover.
What ensues vaguely resembles Lord of the Flies set to mediocre music. Teenagers are branded, kidnapped, and even reenact the Jonestown mass suicide (while photographs from the real mass suicide float across a screen in the background). This might, possibly, have been excusable had the whole pulled into a coherent show with meaning and some semblance of a salient point, but it does not. The plot is full of holes, never explaining, for example, how fourteen children camped out in a house are helping to fight New World Order, or what the police and parents are doing while a girl is kidnapped and videos of children getting branded are supposedly going viral. The ending, when it comes (eventually), is completely anticlimactic and does nothing to tie up any of the loose ends that formed throughout the show.
In order to make this musical even remotely worth sitting through, the cast would have had to consist of unbelievably talented actors who are also incredible vocalists. Instead it consisted of teenagers. Capable teenagers, but teenagers nonetheless. Their acting was well executed and their singing, if not fantastic, was good. Their only major flaw was a tendency to speak too softly to be heard and to talk over their fellow actors.
In one of the only impressive aspects of the play, a good number of the actors played their own instruments. These musicians were all talented, and Matthew Crowe - who plays Tim, Shanie’s second-in-command - was especially noteworthy, as he narrated and sang all while skillfully playing the keyboard. Tilly Needham, who plays Martha, is also worth keeping an eye out for in the future, as she is a highly accomplished singer.
Although the group of actors played their parts admirably, they were not nearly talented enough to make up for the negative aspects of the show. I found myself wishing that New World Order had taken over at the opening ceremony of the Olympics as Shanie predicted. That way the show would have ended after fifteen minutes, instead of dragging on for seventy-five.