Musical of Musicals (The Musical!)

Don’t let the Edinburgh Academy theatre and the audience of grandmas put you off the scent: this is a professional production of an off-Broadway show. Five different miniature shows are presented one by one, each a pun-filled take off of the works of a different musical theatre style. We’ve got Andrew Lloyd Webber, Rogers and Hammerstein, Sondheim, Jerry Herman, and some sort of mysterious Chicago/Cabaret hybrid... their styles are all made fun of (lovingly) by transposing the same plot into all five and bringing in as many clichés - plot, music, lyrics, you name it - as possible.The cast rotate for each of the five mini-musicals, meaning everyone gets a chance to play the lead and resulting in some great performances. I was particularly impressed with Abbey, the over-the-hill starlet who just keeps on going, whose sudden blossoming into the star of the show has the audience reeling; similarly, the aging Lisa Minnelli parody went down very well in the stalls. The rotating cast also means the standard of ensemble singing is very high for this level of production, and the show is at its strongest when the full cast are singing and dancing (and in some cases falling over).Unfortunately the book isn’t clever enough to full of all the pastiche moments and there are places where the material is spread too thinly. An excellent Phantom of the Opera spoof in which the similarities between The Music of the Night and Puccini are spoofed by a sudden twists into Nessun dorma in full Pavarotti style is watered down by the repetition of the joke and pointing out what is happening several times. In the Rogers and Hammerstein parody, the jokes about the lead being called ‘Willie’ seem almost endless. These problems do not let down the musical overall, however, and anyone who loves musical theatre enough to be reading this far will love the show.

Reviews by James T. Harding

Pleasance Courtyard

Creatives

★★
Bedlam Theatre

The Duck Pond

★★★★★

The Blurb

In this hilarious satire on musical theatre, one storyline becomes five delightful musicals, each written in the distinctive style of a different master of the form. One musical is just not enough!