There can surely be no more fitting venue for the Hanover the Musical! than the Hanover Community Centre, with community and the surrounding area the ideas at the heart of this wildly entertaining satirical musical.
Telling the simple story of the landlord of The Grey’s pub (itself opposite the venue) who discovers unknown treasures in his cellar and eventually turns Hanover into it’s own independent state, the plot is really just a vehicle for some glorious spoof songs, some political satire and an affectionately self-mocking portrayal of the eccentric characters of Hanover and Brighton in general.
Cracking endless jokes about Muesli Mountain, Fanny’s bakery, doing tai’ chi on the level and of course, the Coalition government, Hanover the Musical! delights in not taking itself too seriously, and imbues a strong sense of community togetherness and warmth throughout the show, cemented by the renditions of ‘Hooray for Hanover’ book-ending the performance.
I found myself discussing with my accompaniment for the evening the appeal the show might potentially have for those less familiar with Brighton – and songs about Peacehaven, The Argus and the difficulty of parking a car in Hanover definitely made this a local affair – but there is still plenty here to keep even the uninitiated entertained, and the show acts partly as a test; the more of the jokes you fully understand, the more legitimate the Brightonian you are!
Mention has to be made of the extremely high quality of the musical performances and the acting, with all the cast singing and taking on multiple roles within the narrative, and all consistently superb. The songs featured are rehashed versions of well-known classics from a wide range of sources, freshly reinvigorated with witty lyrics and astute observations on life in Brighton. And the clever use of short, filmed interludes on a projector helped keep the action flowing at an entertaining pace.
Some attention should perhaps be paid ti the view from the seats – the performance could undoubtedly benefit from a slightly higher stage, a perfectly clear view hard to obtain from most of the seats as it currently stands. It didn’t detract from the action to any great extent, but it would benefit from being remedied all the same.
All in all, Hanover the Musical! was great entertainment, and comes highly recommended. It was very satisfying to see a lovingly crafted home-grown show easily holding its own against the rest of what the Fringe has to offer.