Like a Noel Coward and Gertrude Lawrence for the modern era, Harry Blake and Alice Keedwell breathe new life into the musical comedy genre.
Book of Blakewell, (we're assured the title is no cynical marketing ploy cashing in on a famous production currently running in the West End) is a whistle stop tour of the vagaries of modern life. We're treated to parodies of Hackney hipster dads, middle aged men in Lycra, the decline in moral values and the Daily Mail to name a few.
Keedwell's voice is impressive, operatic in range and razor-sharp in delivery. She has a natural rapport that easily gets the audience onside, even managing to get the small and slightly self-conscious gathering to sing along at full belt with her at points. Blake's tunes are catchy, clever and with a ring of the familiar about them but a little more variety would be welcome.
The pair employ a variety of musical genres to deliver their satires on modern life: there's some Kraftwerk inspired 80's synth pop, some musical theatre and some good old music hall ditties. There's also a narrative thread running through the piece that involves a bit of a tiff between the two but amusing as it is, it isn't particularly successful as a means to frame the unconnected songs.
This is a jolly entertaining show which raises plenty of laughs: a bit like a gathering of witty bright young things in the 1920's, they should maybe have exploited this feel and handed out some smoking jackets and silk kimonos to get us in the mood.
The show doesn't veer into controversy nor are there any real risqué moments to offend your granny. The parodies hit their targets well but there's potential here for something more, a full-length musical perhaps or maybe more of salon feel to the show. A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon in the company of two engaging and highly talented people but a little work to do to make it perfect.