Ushers: The Front of House Musical – Edinburgh Festival Fringe

2015USHERST_AMYUshers: The Front of House Musical continues at Momentum Grand at St Stephen’s until 30 August.

Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★

To start with, these are great ushers – it’s not often you’re made so welcome to a Fringe show – shown to a seat and given a cast list…

This is a show that owes a fair amount to the likes of Forbidden Broadway – stuffed with musical theatre references and ‘in jokes’. Set in a West End theatre on the opening night of the Britney Spears musical, ‘Oops! I did it Again’, we meet the front of house team through new recruit, Lucy. Of course, they are all actors or singers, working front of house to ‘get by’.

The pace keeps up reasonably well, helped by the punctuation of staff training videos for Sir Andrew Lloyd MacIntosser’s ‘Theatre Nation: Making Theatre Better!’ (*ping!*).

The cast of six gives a true ensemble performance – excellently directed and choreographed to convey the relationships clearly. Lucy and Stephen present the typical old-style musical romance; Gary and Ben a more modern musical romance.

Robin, the Front of House manager, is a scheming misogynist who once wanted to be an opera singer of great note and now targets a management career in Theatre Nation. Harry Stone not only has astonishing phrasing in his singing voice, he has the character of Robin to a ‘T’ in every stage of the character’s story.

The sixth member of the team, Rosie (Alexandra Parkes) is the show-stealer however. Her backstage ‘ninja’ Twitter feed has 24601 followers (I’ll leave it to you to work out the significance of the number) and her obsession with leading men and selfies is delivered with relish. Particularly in the number ‘Leading Men’, with more than a passing reference to Chicago. The two couples are less well-developed in terms of character, which is a pity as so much of the running time is given to their relationships.  Additionally, the numbers these characters have are also somewhat weaker than the Rosie and Robin songs.

It is as an ensemble piece that this show hits the mark most accurately. Some of the dialogue needs to be delivered slightly more clearly as a few of the words are lost. Likewise, timing for audience laughter was a little uneven. The show is a great starting point and foundation though and if some of the weaknesses are addressed, this could be a global success.

One for the theatre crowd out for a giggle at themselves.

 Fiona Orr

Matthew Cundy Productions and Kouban Productions

https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/ushers-the-front-of-house-musical

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