Spare Room Theatre, under the direction of James Moore has once again brought a piece of contemporary musical theatre to Bath; allowing a new challenge to audiences away from the usual offering of the Bath scene. The musical that created a cult following on the London Fringe is Brechtian in style, set in a dystopian world where the rich control the poor and their right to “pee” Not your usual subject matter but neither is this your typical show.
The rather dark and improbable material demands a lightness of touch to allow the humour to prevail, the nods to other shows is clear. The script is slightly awkward due to its style and the musical numbers, whilst well performed, are not memorable; save for the pastiche “Run Freedom Run.”
The design from Becca Long fits the crazy world and the colours and hues of the costumes are an excellent match.
The sound at times is poor and therefore much of the rapport is lost which is vital in a piece that requires an intimacy between cast and audience which is hard to achieve in such a large venue.
The large cast is committed and work well together, the “Poor” get the stronger second act whilst Hannah Long (Hope) and Matthew Graham (Bobby) are picture and pitch perfect romantic leads.
The piece plays with your expectations and preconceptions on purpose; it will no doubt split opinion and more importantly create discussions and debate. Regardless of which side you take, it is all credit to Spare Room Theatre team for the opportunity to see something completely different, breaking the mould is often hard but this team has clearly found their niche.
Photography by Ken Abbott
Photo collage by Alexandra Ricou