Homemade Fusion

If you are a fan of hilarious songs and impeccable singing then this is the show for you. Kooman and Dimond’s thoroughly modern musical somehow manages to entertain us for fifty-five minutes with a plotless song-cycle whose characters change with every new piece of music. Subject matters also change, but seem to revolve around the relationships of current twenty-somethings, be they touchingly bitter-sweet or hilariously dysfunctional.The real strength of this show is the ensemble of six whose sheer musicality is unparalleled. When whole-cast songs break into harmonies the effect is astonishing - even more so considering that the group do not have a Musical Director. It is a real treat to see a show which values the quality of singing so highly. Even though I saw the very first performance of their run they never once came slightly out of tune or fluffed a pitch - call me a pedant but I reckon that’s the hallmark of great musical talent.Individual performances were well balanced within the group and showed that each had impressive acting range. Christina Tedders and Jamie Noar gave a riveting performance of ‘Temp and Receptionist’ (also known as ‘Cubicle of Love’) which carefully morphed from repressed office romance into workplace filth-puns and back again. Dina Mahdi managed to battle through cross-Atlantic differences in the names of candy bars to give us a funny and somewhat disturbing love song to chocolate. The stand-out performer for me was In Short Productions newbie, Fred Ward, whose ballad ‘Lucy’s Laugh’ is somewhat better written than the others. Despite a few obvious slips in the piano accompaniment, Ward’s affection for Lucy’s unattractive laugh was genuine and palpable.My main gripes are with the music and lyrics themselves. Musically, the show very much inhabits the sound-world of Jason Robert Brown, even blatantly ripping off ‘Still Hurting’, but without his relentless boundary-pushing in terms of virtuosity. The lyrics in the ballads are wet - full of meaningless song-isms that can’t possibly add to the story. The two ensemble numbers have titles which show this perfectly: ‘I Will Be Me’ and ‘Can’t I Just Be’. Even syllable stresses aren’t always written in the right place. That said, the show boasts some truly excellent songs, disappointingly all grouped towards the end. Homemade Fusion is saved from its authorial weaknesses by the cast, whose conviction of performance and attention to musical detail shine through. Although this musical has a lot in common with In Short’s previous show Edges (venue, style of music, mix of dull ballads and fantastic comedy songs), it is very watchable, even if you’re a person who ‘just doesn’t like musicals’. As a person who ‘really does like musicals’, I wonder at the validity of a character-less, plot-less musical which can’t offer real intrigue or catharsis. Still - this is a well put-together and entertaining show which will most likely expand your understanding of sexual deviancy.

Reviews by James Robert Ball

Leicester Square Theatre

De Profundis

★★★★

Another Way

★★★

Solstice

★★★

The Walls

★★★

The Blurb

The award-winning company that brought you 'Edges' - 'Perfection' ***** (BroadwayBaby.com), 'Outstanding' (ThreeWeeks) - returns with the premiere of Kooman & Dimond's uproarious romantic musical. Touching tales of smitten stalkers, wooing at the water-cooler and connections with confectionery. www.homemadefusion.co.uk