Pros: Enormous amounts of energy, hilarious comedy and fun. Presented by an enthusiastic and talented cast.
Cons: The 10.15pm start makes it a late finish on a school night.
Ushers is just brilliant! From the opening number to the end it is packed full of everything you want in an entertaining night out. It’s a musical, yes, and I am aware that not everyone is partial to the genre, but you cannot fail to enjoy this satirical look behind the scenes at a big West End show. It is so very funny, full of extremely well observed characterisations of the theatre industry, the audiences and the people that work the venues complete with their relationships and their dreams. There is so much energy and pace, and laugh after laugh throughout the show. It is clever in the most effortless ways, combining cheesy show tunes (you can have a listen here www.ushersmusical.co.uk/music),biting sarcasm, love interests, a dastardly villain and a ‘theatre ninja’. You name it, its all here, every ingredient for a bang on the money good time.
The characters are really well written and relatable and there are contrasting personalities to bounce the story about. The cast are a talented bunch, almost flawless and just so energetic, they really give it their all. I loved Ceris Hine as Rosie. She is the lynchpin of the show, providing so many of the comedy moments with unashamed flair. Ralph Bogard hams it up to perfect pitch as the villainous failed-opera-singer-come-theatre-manager, Robin Pocketts. Liam Ross-Mills and Daniel Buckley give us torn and tender moments as their characters Ben and Gary’s relationship reaches breaking point. Ross McNiell’s character should enter on a white horse – his Prince Charming, Stephen, so convincingly woos the new girl, Lucy, played by Carly Thoms. The stage direction and choreography are seamless and simple, giving a big show feel to this production. The cast take to the auditorium (as you would expect from the ushers!) and envelope the audience in the fun.
The 10.15pm start (and the pre theatre drinks) meant I was waning a bit by the time I sat in my seat, but I was soon lifted out of my mid-week weariness by the dynamic and lively show. The late start is down to Ushers being the second show of the night – this hardworking venue hosts two shows followed by live music, as well as a lively bar and restaurant, all tucked away under Charing Cross Station. I know it’s a cliché, but this theatre is a real gem.
I can’t recommend this show highly enough – it is absolutely brilliant. I loved it and so did my husband, who would as a rule, rather pull his own teeth than sit through a musical. Although the format is familiar, this show has a fresh and funny approach, one that some of the big names in musical theatre could take note of. Just when you think musicals have been done to death, Kouban Productions proves that it’s not over until the theatre Ushers sing!
Music by: Yiannis Koutsakos
Lyrics by: James Oban and Yiannis Koutsakos
Director: Max Reynolds
Producer: Kouban Productions
Booking until: 19th April 2014
Box office: 08444 930650
Booking link: http://www.ushersmusical.co.uk/tickets–info.html