[Title of Show]

As cryptic as the title of this show may seem to be, its basic premise is established very early on. A sharply self-aware piece based upon the tribulations of writing a new musical, [title of show] wades through clichés, tableaus, references to a wide variety of other West End and Broadway productions which make it completely relatable to anybody already deeply immersed within the form – either as a fan or as someone with any experience of being involved with a musical.

Performed with aptly over-the-top wide-eyed energy, reflective of the genre-mocking nature of the piece

Owing to this, the show itself feels like one big inside-joke, which may perhaps lead to a sense of exclusion for anyone less finely attuned to the dramatic necessity of the fortissimo, or the all-consuming power of a ‘cross down-stage’. Further, the barrage of half-baked punchlines and at times directionless writing may at times become too much for some viewers. However, the performance of Cobbles and Rhyme Productions ensures that there is enough comedy, energy and quality to maintain interest and to actually present characters about whom we do come to care.

Much of this is due to the performances of the cast, with Harvey Westwood as Hunter, the writer of the hitherto unnamed show, a dependable presence from the beginning. The opening number (the aptly titled "Untitled Opening Number") establishes the vocal proficiency of the four-strong ensemble and is performed with aptly over-the-top wide-eyed energy, reflective of the genre-mocking nature of the piece. Importantly for such a small number of performers, each contributes well, with Ben Skingsley an effectively down-beat foil for Hunter’s more optimistic humour, while Heidi Parsons as Heidi brings sparkle and energy and Charlie Walker as Susan delivers deadpan humour perfectly.

Though there are many laughs to be had in this production, at times some comic-timing goes slightly awry, and the acting in the scenes doesn’t quite match up to the company’s strong performance through song. It is, however, a completely enjoyable performance and one which would certainly merit seeing again. Special mention must also go to Musical Director Harry Haden-Brown, whose performance at the keyboard is faultless, and whose cameo inputs are firm crowd-pleasers. On the whole this is a great evening’s entertainment which I have no doubt will improve further as the show’s Fringe-long run continues.

Reviews by Joshua Clarke

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Performances

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The Blurb

Four chairs. Three weeks. Two bickering writers. One award-winning original musical. Follow the challenges and triumphs of four nobodies in New York on their hilarious quest for Broadway, acceptance and a spot on Ellen DeGeneres’ couch! An eccentric, witty and self-aware show (about the creation of a show!) filled with diva riff offs, talking notepads and a jealous onstage pianist… what could possibly go wrong?

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