Dead in the Water: A Musical Tragicomedy

This is one of the oddest true stories you will ever hear. A musical re-enactment of a wartime deal between an Army General and a Welsh tramp. One of them (you can guess who) becomes ‘dead in the water’, gaining a title and expensive headstone in the process. I was pretty curious from the start and the play kept me guessing right to the end.

I was pretty curious from the start and the play kept me guessing right to the end.

The performing trio are talented; they alternated between different roles with uncanny ease. From hospital-bound paupers to star-crossed lovers and military commanders, the parts were brought to life with character and flair. The minimalist set made frequent use of a hospital bed screen which actors hid behind to change costume in the midst of on-stage action. Writers Tibbey and Sims have put together a musical that demands a lot from its performers. Apart from a slip of the grim reaper’s hood, the performance flew by smoothly. I had half been expecting some spontaneous tomfoolery and/or audience participation from a company called Balls in the Air, but it wasn’t necessary. Balls in the Air Productions didn’t balls up. Our attention was firmly fixed on the young performers on stage.

There was a lot of 40s theatricality, and some of the dance routines were quite cheesy. At times it was hard to keep up with who was who, and what was what, in this time-shifting, role-changing performance. But it was fun nonetheless - we enjoyed the changing voices and faces. This is a show for the whole family; kids will love the heel-clicking dance routines and adults, the clever jokes. The wartime scenes of poverty and desperation, mixed with comedy, are a well-timed reminder that we’re all in it together.

Reviews by Felicity Harris

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Performances

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The Blurb

1943. A tramp lies dying in a London Hospital, unaware that his death will propel him in to history, saving thousands of lives and altering the course of the War. Re-living his tragic journey from poverty in Wales to sleeping rough in London, he witnesses confused and ghostly portents of the strange redemption that awaits him. In this darkly comic musical tale, the true story of Glyndwr Michael, the strangest War hero who ever lived, is re-imagined through haunting songs and fast-paced dialogue.

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