Michael Neri Productions stages a stripped back, self-aware musical based on the hit 90s TV show, Saved By The Bell. The show claims ‘Whether you’re a Saved By The Bell buff or not quite sure what all the hype is about, this lively and cheeky Musical promises to entertain.’ This statement is categorically incorrect. Those even slightly unfamiliar with the show will be left in the dark throughout the majority of the performance. Every joke, costume and song is a reference only having the potential to land through recognition.
The staging is sloppy and under-rehearsed, relying only on the tact of mislead actors to make use of the barren space. The script is bullet fast with feeble jokes, insulting the intelligence of the audience with an unrelenting frequency of crude humour.
There are countless and pointless costumes within the piece including a bear, duck and ghost. The garments are crumpled up and piled high on the unused piano in the corner. It becomes immediately clear that this isn’t an artistic decision but purely a lazy choice and makes the stage look like a messy bedroom. Where surely a rail or dress up type box would provide a tidier production. Instead, the actors come on late due to rampaging through the pile and trip up on lipstick and other props rolling across the stage.
There are moments, all too fleeting, where this show illustrates an ounce of potential. But anything enjoyable is muddied by an overtly long two hour run-time and cringing clumsiness. If you are familiar with the show you may understand the references but be ultimately disappointed by their execution. Bayside the Musical is a piece which purposefully wastes your time.
Reviewed by Nicole Darvill-Batten