I Sing! is the 1999 musical comedy set in New York. It made it’s off-Broadway debut in 2001 and is now having its UK premiere at the Drayton Arms Theatre in London, for just five nights. The show tells the story of five youngsters, whose lives become intertwined. The happy couple, Nicky and Heidi, their recently single friend Alan who is staying with them for a while, Pepper, the sex fuelled good-time-girl and her gay best friend Charlie.
Through thirty musical numbers, we follow them on a journey where everything changes, people fall in love with those they shouldn’t, sexualities get questioned and vodka gets drunk.
Steffan Lloyd-Evans is brilliant as the strapping young lad, Nicky. His voice is strong and clear and his good looks don’t go against him either. Eleanor Sandars is equally as good as Pepper. He sultry moves and powerhouse vocals give the songs some real oomph. Louie Westwood is adorable and funny as Charlie, with a surprisingly powerful voice. Malinda Freeman starts off slow as Heidi but comes through in the second act, showing that she really can sing. Vocally, Daniel Mack Shand is the weakest of the group with some questionable vocals but his comedy acting goes a long way to make up for this.
Musically the score is catchy and funny, with definite reminisce to The Last Five Years. The lyrics are sometimes cheesy but work with a younger audience which is where this show seems to fit best. I’m not sure I would class the show as ‘Friends meets Will and Grace’ (as it does in the programme) but it is a good show.
Staged simply in Drayton Arms Theatre, there is much that could be done to this show with some set and scenery. With just a clothes rail and collection of empty wine bottles to set the scene the audience are left to imagine things for themselves. The actors seemed to lack direction, standing very close to the audience when there is a lot of unused space behind them. Apart from a rather cringeworthy sex scene there is very little thought behind the way the songs are presented other than just standing up and singing. I am sure some more imaginative things could be done.
What is undeniable in this show is the great material the actors have to work with and they do a great job. The direction and design lets the show down but with some work I would be interested in seeing how far this show can go.
Reviewed by West End Wilma
I Sing! is playing at the Drayton Arms Theatre until 21 July 2015. Click here for tickets