A simple set. A small cast. A lot of emotional family turmoil.
Picture Perfect is a new musical from Scott Evan Davis and director Simon Greiff that aims to shatter the illusion of the perfect family.
Josh (Joel Harper-Jackson) is having an affair with a married man, whilst watching his parents’ (Helen Hobson and Jérôme Pradon) marriage fall apart because his father is also having an affair – with Ellie (Charlotte Wakefield).
The cast is a strong one and Charlotte Wakefield as Ellie proves that she’s just as much at home on a small stage as she is in a large theatre… Or one outside. Her lovely voice captures both the softer melodies and the powerful songs perfectly and her humour really comes across in the song He’s Perfect – which gets one of the few laughs from the audience.
Joel Harper-Jackson is also a beautiful singer and his letter to Santa is very cute. The relationship with his mother Elizabeth (Helen Hobson) is sweet and believable, although Helen Hobson perhaps needs a bit more self-confidence; she was fantastic (in fact she and Jérôme Pradon are the stronger actors) but she relies on her script throughout the performance.
The songs themselves (accompanied by piano and cello) are catchy (particularly Take On The World) and very typical of the new musical genre (although some of the lyrics are a bit cringeworthy) and the melodies between the four cast members are quite lovely.
However, the story itself was a bit wishy-washy. For a story about the truth of family life, not a lot actually happens and there’s no real conclusion to the piece. The song Everyone Has A Little Vice brings some grit to the performance but it still seems a bit too cutesie, especially with some of the choreography, the constant hand holding and the frequent exchange of smiles between the cast.
But, although it’s not perfect, it’s a nice little musical with a very talented cast.
Reviewed by Michaela Clement-Hayes
Photos by Jamie Scott-Smith – www.tenbyeight.co.uk