The bathroom of a student flat is not a place you'd want to spend 5 minutes, let alone an hour. Often unhygenic, unclean and coated in everything from shaving foam to old pizza boxes, they are not an enjoyable place to be. However that is where the audience for Shower Thoughts finds themselves as they watch a small group of students attempt to express and work through their problems in song. Their plans to fix themselves may not always be successful, but Shower Thoughts undoubtedly deserves to be a surprise success of the Fringe.
Its homespun, DIY charm gives it a genuinely wholesome and heartfelt feel which should not be missed.
Coming from the real-life students of St Andrews University, this original musical from Lavie Rabinovitz and Ryan Hay is a delightful slice of life dramedy about the trials and tribulations of young adult life, told through five students regularly hiding from the world in their bathroom. Though the topics touched on by the group including mental illness, eating disorders and burgeoning sexualities, are tried and tested ground for shows aimed at young people, the quality of the songs and performers shines through the occasional rote theme and the show as a whole excels considerably when it engages in something out of left-field.
The most charming addition to the show is a beautifully harmonised recurring theme that is presented mostly without context. A refreshing breather from the weighty material that surrounds it, every reprise brings joy to the room, particularly when it is accompanied by some unexpected cameos. It is these moments that emphasise the main strength of Shower Thoughts: its considerable warmth and humanity.
This is aided by the show's performers, as the full quintet are hugely likeable whenever they are on stage. Highlights are Connor Norris, who despite being at least a foot too tall for the onstage shower delights the audience throughout with an energetic stage presence and a melodious singing voice. Iona Smith is the show's most comically gifted cast member and Stephanie Heron conveys the most dramatic number in the show with a truly professional-quality intensity.
There are a couple of small complaints, often caused by the tiny stage the show is performed on. Notably the music leaves gaps between verses and dialogue that require choreography currently not present, leaving actors to awkwardly wait for the next section of singing they have to do. In addition, more energy could have helped bridge these slight gaps and a large amount of the set went underutilised to instead have characters stand and deliver full songs to the front of the stage. Despite this, as a debut musical Shower Thoughts is hugely accomplished. Its homespun, DIY charm gives it a genuinely wholesome and heartfelt feel which should not be missed. Forget the occasional mess and the cramped room, Shower Thoughts is still definitely the most fun you can have in the bathroom of a student flat.