Exposure the Musical – Life Through a Lens continues at the St James Theatre, London until 27 August.
Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
As James Albrecht, creative director of the St James Theatre puts it: “For many creators, the object of their creativity can be described as ‘a labour of love’.”
This concept lies at the heart of so much creation and the driving force that enables writers, composers, directors and producers to make their way through the sometimes chaotic creative process.
This is surely the case for Mike Dyer. The librettist/composer penned this musical following a near-fatal motorbike crash and it is undoubtedly the fruit of his passionate energy and drive.
The loss of his father was the seed for telling this story, revealing his lifelong passion for photography, its power to distort the truth or reveal it, to corrupt the soul or enlighten it.
Dyer’s love of rock music is evident in this sometimes loud, but always pulsating modern score, spanning from rock to hip hop, but also containing dramatic pieces such as ‘My Last Goodbye’, romantic ballads and a gospel flavoured finale, ‘Rainmaker’.
The music is well served by Lindon Barr’s inspired choreography, enhancing the dramatic tension especially in the the ‘Seven Deadly Sins’, the dream, or shall we say nightmare ballet…
As Jimmy, the photographer, the handsome David Albury gives a convincing performance, helped by some impressive vocals.
Natalie Anderson and Niamh Perry both give moving performances as Tara and Pandora, the two competing females in Jimmy’s life.
Michael Greco has a magnetic stage presence as Miles Mason, especially in the Act II opening number, and South African-born Kurt Kansley is equally impressive as Jimmy’s father.
The costumes by Carla Goodman illustrate perfectly the author’s passion for motorbikes and the lighting design by Ben Cracknell is spot-on, but the most innovative element is the set/video design by Timothy Bird.
After almost 12 years of workshops, it is good to finally see this original show on stage at the St James, brought to fruition via the clever direction of playwright, composer and lyricist Phil Willmott.
Though Act I might take its time to gain momentum and the dramatic Act II might take itself too seriously, this musical of ‘Life Through a Lens’ is an innovative piece of musical theatre which deserves to be discovered.
Tickets for Exposure the Musical – Life Through a Lens are available HERE.