REVIEW: 2 BECOME 1 (Underbelly) ★

2become1I loved the 90’s. It was all about women feeling empowered and equal to men. ‘Girl power’ was a term coined by the 90’s pop sensation Spice Girls who ruled the musical world and helped change history in the music business.

When I read about this show 2 Become 1 at the Edinburgh Fringe, I knew I had to go. Unfortunately last year I didn’t make it and almost missed out again this year but at the last minute I found a gap in my schedule and excitedly ran down to catch the show.

2 Become 1 is classed as a ‘comedy pop musical’. It tells the simple story of Jess who has just split up with her boyfriend. Her girl friends rally round and take her out for a night on the town speed dating. We witness the girls with their various speed dates and the conversations they talk about. Jess only wants to talk about her ex, Amanda has a five year plan and needs to find a man quickly (which tends to scare them off). Molly is the androgynous one who doesn’t really seem to know what she wants from life and Charlie (the Samantha from Sex and the City character) just wants non-committal sex.

The show features several Spice Girls numbers as well as hits from the likes of Cher, Britney, Christina Aguilera and Shania Twain. The song choices are a great flash back to the 90’s which undoubtedly gave us some great songs. Bizarrely the girls repeatedly sing the line “I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want” throughout the show which became extremely annoying in its repetitiveness.

The direction left a lot to be desired with the song ‘I’m Horny’ being performed with the girls gyrating on the floor in the aisles so that only those sitting on the end of the rows could see anything that was happening. The crashing and crackling of the microphones during this scene was also disturbing on the ears. The girls lacklustre dance routines sounded like a stampede of elephants on a wooden stage and drowned out any music or singing that was happening.

2 Become 1 is a great concept, a musical jukebox based on pop hits from the 90’s. Unfortunately, the writing is cringeworthy, the links into songs obvious, performances mediocre and the singing reminiscent of karaoke. Perhaps if this were a late night show, after a few glasses of wine, it may have been slightly more bearable but at 4pm I was fully alert and didn’t feel the show is anywhere near a level where it is ready for the stage.

The audience seemed to love it and appeared to have a great time. Swipe Right Theatre have been selling out their show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and so perhaps audiences are seeing something I didn’t. I was left terribly disappointed.

Reviewed by West End Wilma

2 BECOME 1 plays at the Underbelly Cowgate until 28 August 2016