Paradise in Augustines – The Studio
This witty musical first appeared on Broadway in 1996 and looks at relationships at different stages of life. The 2022 production by the University of Nottingham’s Musical Theatre Society, Musicality, is extremely funny, makes great use of effective choreography and staging and has a very talented cast.
Our hilarious musical theatre quartet enact relationships throughout the course of a lifetime: the stresses and successes of dating apps, commitment, marriage, funerals and everything inbetween. Both Woman 1 and Woman 2, portrayed by Carla Davison and Alice Humphreys, have phenomenal vocal abilities and demonstrate great riffs, belts, and hilarious acting through song. They engage with both Man 1 and Man 2, performed by Vicks Parker and Ryan Cooley, in a brilliantly funny way. Both the latter show great comedic timing and acting skills, and all four work together throughout to create gorgeous harmonies, with the exceptional playing of pianist AJ Hill enhancing the musical aspects.
The cast all do exceptionally well to perform using wired microphones and don’t allow this to hinder their choreography or staging. Ewan Waddell’s careful direction is precisely planned to make the most of the venue: simple props and four black boxes are used as set to depict the changing scenes, from a restaurant, to a family car, to a home, to a funeral. This minimalist design allows the audience to focus on the performances, and the use of small costume additions instead propels the scene changes.
This show fulfils its aim as an almost-song-cycle musical, telling the story primarily through music and humour – a style that suits this talented cast and highlights the exceptional ability of the pianist. Impressive comic timing enhances the dialogue and their facial expressions are fantastically funny. Although this is a full-length musical with an interval – which is unusual for a fringe show – the cast ensure the audience remain engaged throughout.
Featuring strong, entertaining performances and comedic skill, Musicality’s excellent interpretation of this show underscores the joy of reviving off-Broadway pieces and demonstrates you don’t need a large budget to put on a great musical production!
Book and Lyrics by: Joe DiPietro
Music by: Jimmy Roberts
Directed by: Ewan Waddell
Produced by: Adriana Dvorakova
Assistant Producer: Roxane Le Toumelin
Musical Direction by: AJ Hill
I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change played at EdFringe 2022. It has now completed its current run.