The dedicated, hard-working and committed cast of six actors worked hard to bring this piece alive on a cramped stage. Unfortunately, this new piece of writing, billed as a 'zany new Musical Comedy', has little music, little comedy and wasn't very zany.
The cast really do give their all – sometimes a bit overpowering in the small space – and they cannot be criticized for their conviction, but they have little to get their teeth into.
SOS - Save our Spaces has a loose plot about members of a committee trying to stop town planners from knocking down their houses and building new flats on green belt land. It is supposedly based on true events, but both the characters and the thin plot seem very far from real life.
The stereotypical characters are two dimensional, such as the self obsessed chairman of the committee, a twittery scatterbrained woman who gets all the facts wrong, and a militant environmentalist. It's all rather unoriginal. The cast really do give their all – sometimes a bit overpowering in the small space – and they cannot be criticized for their conviction, but they have little to get their teeth into.
Much of the action takes place in a committee meeting, requiring the actors to sit down, which creates a particularly dull stage picture. Billed as a musical, the first song was a long time coming and was a welcome relief from the lengthy scene proceeding. The use of songs to comment on the action and to allow for a little more movement is a good device, but the use of new lyrics penned to the music of Beatles hit I Want To Hold Your Hand and Guy Mitchell and Tommy Steele’s evergreen Singin' The Blues is rather odd, particularly as the new lyrics have no ironic reference to the originals. Why not just compose new songs? A little choreography is attempted, but this is mainly just weak hand gestures. Some songs are accompanied by guitar, others a cappella – there is no consistency.
The piece doesn’t know what it wants to be. At times it tries to be meaningful and serious, then it changes to farcical comedy. Is it a play with songs or a musical? Is it trying to have a ‘message’? A little more work is required if the writer wants it to have a further life.