Ash Phoenix dreams of being a rock star. He leaves his emotionally distant father behind and moves to LA, the place where dreams come true. There he meets a beautiful young aspiring actress and the two fall in love.
That Phoenix works as well as it does is in no small part due to its exceptionally talented performer Andy Gallo
So far, so good. But the young couple has to put their dreams on hold when an unexpected pregnancy places a strain on the new relationship and Ash has to choose between rock 'n roll and changing dirty diapers. He tells us his story of the highs and lows of fatherhood in this new one-man comedy musical Phoenix.
Written by former Fringe First winner Richard Marsh and songwriter Jessica Sharman, Phoenix is a charming, if slight, tale of love, loss and legos. The writing is mostly light and clever, even if some moments are a bit heavy-handed, and the show’s hopeful message that families will find each other and love is worth more than money and fame is certainly a welcome one in the everyday chaos that is the world these days.
Ash’s story feels universal, although the decision to set it in 1960’s Hollywood feels distancing and unnecessary. If it took place in the present it might feel more immediate and ‘real’ but that’s not to say that Phoenix doesn’t have anything to say. As with all good musicals the songs here serve to give the audience insight into the emotional state of the character singing and the normally swaggering Ash shows his vulnerable side through the relatively simple but catchy songs.
Phoenix works as well as it does is in no small part due to its exceptionally talented performer. Actor and musician Andy Gallo shines as Ash Phoenx, giving an energetic and heartfelt performance. He takes us through the years of both joy and sorrow which a devoted dad goes through while raising his son in less than ideal circumstances, trying his hardest not to repeat his own father’s mistakes.
Gallo's talent for playing multiple instruments, sometimes all at once, and his powerful voice is astounding. It’s a demanding 70 minutes for a performer and Gallo sails through it effortlessly.