Best of Friends’ writer and producer Nick Fogarty has proved his dedication and great stamina to this musical project. Cancelled when it ran last year as The Golden Voice, it has been rewritten for a smaller incarnation at the Landor Theatre.
The intention of the musical is noble but it doesn’t quite reach its potential.
The storyline is current: musician Mike Chariot returns to his roots to redeem himself, twenty years after he walked out on his best friend Jim Ryan and his girlfriend Natalie, to win a television talent show. Disappointed with his choices, Mike tries to make amends and buy a studio/youth club from Jim to give young artists a break. As Taylor, Natalie’s son, auditions, secrets are revealed.
The intention of the musical is noble but it doesn’t quite reach its potential. It’s easy to tell this is a rewrite of a bigger script. In particular, the opening sequence feels clunky; backstory is shoe-horned into the dialogue but there’s no emotional evidence of their relationships, making it hard empathise with the characters.
This becomes problematic during the rest of the musical. When Mike returns, Jim has given into crime and blames Mike for his life choices. Natalie worries Taylor will end up as his dad and secretly still pines after Mike. It is hard to see why Jim and Natalie are so fond of Mike, given has not been in touch for 20 years. Furthermore, several storylines, like that of half-drawn character Jodie, vanish halfway through the show, never fulfilling their promise.
The songs are catchy and there are some lovely scenes, most notably between Natalie and Taylor. Alex James Ellison’s cheekiness comes naturally in these scenes and Rosie Glossop is a very skilled actress with a powerhouse voice to boot. There is great chemistry between charismatic Serena Giacomini and Aidan O’Neill, who makes Mike a likeable character and holds the stage through some awkward dialogue.
Perhaps the musical suffered from the rewrite; it uses the sub-head Redemption vs Revenge but Jim’s story has been completely overshadowed by Mike’s. It is a shame. The premise and the talent are there but the story is not.