All We Ever Wanted Was Everything

As the friend with whom I went to see the show so emphatically said, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything is ‘everything’. Heart-wrenching and heart-warming all at once, the production was half-live-music-gig, half-theatrical performance: almost all of the actors swapped in and out of playing the drum kit and electric guitars that took up the best part of Roundabout’s lower seats. As if this multi-tasking wasn’t impressive enough, James Frewer’s original live music was fantastic in itself, recalling bands like The Arctic Monkeys, The Kooks and The Pet Shop Boys. Presiding over everything was the swaggering, kohl-rimmed MC, Marc Graham, whose performance focused and energised the show throughout, and whose quick wit enabled ad-libs with the audience and his own cast members, bringing wry laughs to those watching. This style of gig-theatre is the brand on which Middle Child, the company behind All We Ever Wanted Was Everything, has built itself – and it really works for the story they’re trying to tell.

The direction is fantastic, the design is fantastic, the music is fantastic and the performances are fantastic.

Luke Barnes’ writing is smart and sharp. Okay, its topic is perhaps not the most original, but it gets you in the gut, and it gets you good. Stretched across three decades, from the ‘Cool Brittania’ era to ‘Broken Britain’ to ‘Brexit Britain’, the script introduces us to Leah and Chris, two millennials whose parents sacrificed everything for them, and who have told their children that, with enough self-belief and dedication, they can achieve whatever they dream. However, when that promise fails to materialise, Barnes’ script rips apart this endlessly-deferring promise of future happiness. It asks us how we communicate with those we love, what happiness really is anyway, how we measure it, and the extreme loneliness and isolation that can ensue as a consequence of not really being now, right now, at this very second. When references to Brexit were made (to a unanimously groaning audience), my heart hurt with how searingly close the performance was to my reality, as a Brexit Britain ‘millennial’ (although I hate that term, and its signifiers). When Graham came onstage in a Trump mask, laughing maniacally, my heart broke. The device of the singing asteroid (yep) heading to earth enabled Graham’s final monologue, in all of its visceral, muscled, boiling fury, to focus itself: “live your life”, he yelled at its climax, “I f****** dare you”.

Go and see All We Ever Wanted Was Everything. The direction is fantastic, the design is fantastic, the music is fantastic and the performances are fantastic. The script may not be the most subtle or original in its content, but, as the backbone of Middle Child’s production, it moved me to tears, and has reminded me that sometimes you just need to get out of your own head.

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Reviews by Alice Carlill

Underbelly, George Square

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★★★★
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All We Ever Wanted Was Everything

★★★★★
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★★★★★
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★★★★
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Meet Leah and Chris; raised on Harry Potter, New Labour and a belief they would be special. But what happens when dreams don’t become reality? Set over three decades, from Cool Britannia to Brexit Britain, this is gig theatre from the award-winning team behind Weekend Rockstars. 'Re-inventing the idea of musical theatre from the smouldering ashes of everything you thought you knew about musical theatre' (Andrew Haydon on Weekend Rockstars).

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