Musical Theatre @ George Square Two
6-31st August, 15.45
‘Chat! - The Internet Musical’ turned out to have everything I thought it would lack: talent, insight, and scope for amusement. It’s an unconventional compliment, but a compliment none the less.
‘Take Note Theatre Ltd’ set itself a challenge in this territory, competing against more contentious titles surfing this year’s Musical menu.
With Porn, Gingers, and Jerry Springer on the A La Carte, who would chose a musical about what we already waste our hours doing? (Facebook, cough cough). I wouldn’t.
Wrong answer. ‘Chat!’ is the strongest of them all, by far. This new score displays a hilarious wit and memorable rhythms. Polished timing combined with effortless humour made for a truly superb performance. Cadences of voice were comically and convincingly characterised, whilst supported by genuine musicality.
Set in a celebrity’s networking site, the chatters sat in paralleled isolation, communicating only in the virtual world. And despite the potential of fantasy personas, the characters exposed were surprisingly honest. A sexually confused teenager, a narcissistic but insecure celebrity, a desperate and frustrated housewife, her insensitive husband, a single mum, and ‘Mary’ the meddling site administrator. Here, cyberspace and its prolific popularity are not phenomena; they are a tragic byproduct of modern-day, consumer discontent. But still, this bleak context attains comedy and resolve: chatters are seeking support, not escape, and here it is found.
Its achievement was a surprise, and my surprise came twofold: because it was indisputably hilarious, but moreover, because it was so introspective. Individual laments were poignant. The narrative drive was uncommonly intense. However this lead to a dangerous reliance on recit passages, and illuminated the weakness of group numbers. ‘Internet Obsession a Symptom of Depression’ came across as particularly shallow and clinkey. But a musical’s a musical, and I can’t condemn it for entertaining within its genre, even if its particular success is in tiptoeing beyond.
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