Limbo: City of Dreams

Limbo: City of Dreams charges itself with the difficult task of cramming an entire world into its hour-long runtime. Starting in motion and continuing at a breathless pace throughout, this is young adult dystopian fiction as a student musical done at twice the speed. The advantage of that is that the audience never has a moment to get bored, getting swept up in the well-paced early portions of the show and staying gripped throughout. Unfortunately this comes at the cost of thematic exploration and audience immersion as things are kept rather simplistic, but the show is none-the-less an entertaining experience.

Tightly-plotted, inventively-staged and excellently performed by its cast.

The show wisely sticks to young adult fiction tropes, as it tells the story of a young girl adrift in a city without imagination who learns to discover its importance and risks her life to save her people. This simplicity is more often than not charming, largely as it allows the cast to shine. Many given dual roles as buttoned up denizens of the imagination-less city and carefree people of the forest, the full ensemble cast switch impressively well between archetypes.

Alexa Moster as The Reverie is the highlight of the production, showcasing a phenomenal emotional and vocal range and packing serious punch behind her high notes. Similar credit must be given to Katie Lynch as the show's protagonist Imogen, who carries a great deal of the emotional power of the show on her shoulders and plays it off fantastically, transforming with her character on a clear arc through the hour. Finally, Emmet Smith as Spark deserves special mention not just for his outstanding beatboxing ability which backs much of the singing throughout the show, but for his immense vocal range and acting performance as well, imbuing a smaller character with a great deal of personality.

Limbo: City of Dreams is tightly-plotted, inventively-staged and excellently performed by its cast. It should be noted though that this comes off as far more of a show for children and young adults than its publicity material suggests and the colorful costuming and abundance of young fantasy tropes are cringeworthy in moments. While the show doesn't break new ground, it works very well within its parameters and contains some very strong performances sure to delight audiences young and old.

Reviews by Charlie Ralph

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

The gift of imagination has been extinct in the Great Stone City for a thousand years. When Imogen discovers a secret community keeping the gift alive, she takes it upon herself to restore imagination to her own people, but her actions come at a cost. A modern myth for our times, with soaring pop-folk songs and a 15-strong ensemble of actor-musicians. City of Dreams is a brand new musical from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the American Music Theatre Project created by Off West End Award-nominated team Finn Anderson and Tania Azevedo.

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