Saturday, 20 January 2018

New Music Friday 19/01

If anything, this week's NMF proves that fresh talent is undoubtedly outdoing the return of major artists...


Mabel (with Not3s) - Fine Line

 Mabel (with Not3s) - Fine Line

Mabel follows up the ubiquitous Finders Keepers with this collaboration with rapper Not3s who was similarly nominated for the BBC Sound Of award this year. It may not be as infectious as that previous single, but it's clear that Mabel has a deep understanding of contemporary music trends - far more than the bigger artists releasing this week...



Kylie Minogue - Dancing

 Kylie Minogue - Dancing

Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. I think we've had too much of Kylie Minogue. The country verse is there for the Radio 2 fans, the annoyingly catchy electro chorus for the kids, but it's like two different songs spliced together. And at this point, the idea of Kylie going out dancing is laughably uncool. This is the first Kylie release since she signed to BMG, but from the sounds of this her career is dead.



Rudimental feat. Jess Glynne, Macklemore and Dan Caplen - These Days


Four artists are not better than one. These Days is proof. Rudimental are cooler than this Macklemore-led pop-rap production. Dan Caplen is underused. And Jess Glynne's bleating returns. Yay.



Justin Timberlake - Supplies

 Justin Timberlake - Supplies

For much of his career, Timberlake has been accused of appropriating black culture. On Supplies that's more apparent than ever. The production, courtesy of The Neptunes, is straight up trap, over which Timberlake boasts of his "supplie-ie-ies" and how he's a "generous lover" with the braggadocio of someone desperate to be liked. It's cold and lifeless with a video crammed with tired dystopian cliché. Suddenly all interest in 'Man of the Woods' is lost.



Troye Sivan - The Good Side

 Troye Sivan - The Good Side

Last week Sivan gave us the first true banger of the year with My My My!. Now he proves he can deliver a gentle acoustic ballad, peppered with bubbling electronics. Its lyrics plainly depict how Sivan's life improved after a breakup and the success of his last album, leaving his ex alone in his wake. He's capable of raw honesty as much as polished pop - his forthcoming album will likely fuse the two.



Tinashe - No Drama

 Tinashe - No Drama

A series of singles have failed to provide a worthy follow-up to Tinashe's debut album 'Aquarius'. No Drama sees her team up with Migos member Offset for another try. Its trap-inspired R&B sound is slick and ominous, but it's not the breakout hit she needs.



Cashmere Cat (with Major Lazer & Tory Lanez) - Miss You

  Cashmere Cat (with Major Lazer & Tory Lanez) - Miss You

The presence of Major Lazer brings dancehall rhythms to the glossy dance of Norway's Cashmere Cat, with rapper Tory Lanez providing vocals. Miss You is a low-key jam that builds towards a booming bass-driven chorus that'll sound epic after a few jagerbombs.



Rejjie Snow feat. Aminé - Egyptian Luvr

 Rejjie Snow feat. Aminé - Egyptian Luvr

When you think of Ireland, it tends to be acoustic folk and cheesy boybands. You're unlikely to think of laidback funk production that blends the best bits of Kaytranada and Frank Ocean. Irish rapper Rejjie Snow is breaking the mould with this seductive release ahead of a debut album due next month.



Amadeus @ The National Theatre

Amadeus @ The National Theatre

The whole notion of rivalry is a rich source of drama. But in Peter Shaffer's Amadeus, it's used to explore a much deeper theme: what is a genius?

Shaffer's play, revived last year at the National Theatre where it debuted in 1979 and now receiving a second run, is a fictional account of composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri. Under director Michael Longhurst, the play is a celebration of the two composers and their music, a study of fame, and a smart reimagining of musical theatre. It is, in itself, a work of genius.

They say you should never meet your idols as they'll only disappoint. Salieri certainly doesn't idolise Mozart, but he is astonished at his talents. Upon meeting the young composer, however, the man behind the music does not meet his expectations. Brash, arrogant and precocious, Salieri describes Mozart as an "obscene child". Interestingly, it's not Mozart but God who receives the brunt of his jealousy - he believes Mozart's talent to be God-given and cannot fathom why he himself was not chosen for such a gift.

Lucian Msamati is an imposing stage presence as Salieri. He commands the stage and holds the audience in his palm, a master of words and storytelling. His opening monologue is perhaps a little too lengthy, but over the course of the play we watch him morph from successful composer to a man twisted by bitterness, a manipulator whose desperation for fame blinds him as he cannot comprehend his position in the world.

Msamati dominates, but Adam Gillen offers a memorable performance as Mozart. He is childlike, eccentric and flamboyant, alien to the musical court and caring only for his art. In front of an orchestra, he turns into a rockstar with his bleached punk hair and extravagantly vibrant clothing, more dancer than conductor. He is cocky and impetuous - completely at odds with the delicacy and emotion of his music - but as Salieri's madness takes hold, we cannot help but sympathise with this pathetic man-child.

Does this mis-match of music and man even matter? And what of legacy? Salieri may receive riches during his lifetime, but his thirst for the godliness that he sees in Mozart's music can never be satiated. Mozart, meanwhile, eventually dies a pauper but his musical legacy outlives him. Is the curse of a genius to die before a legacy can be truly celebrated?

Shaffer's play is full of such questions, despite boiling down to a very simple story of jealousy. Yet it's told, through Longhurst's direction, with such intelligence, profundity and artistic creativity. His smartest decision is to involve the Southbank Sinfonia, who provide the music of the piece, in the drama. They perform on-stage as court musicians, doubling as ensemble members within the narrative while simultaneously playing the music beautifully without a conductor. It ensures that Amadeus is a feast for both the eyes and the ears.

Chloe Lamford's stage design is sumptuous but leaves the sides and back of the stage exposed. The scene changes have a pleasingly mechanical feel as musicians and staging alike are wheeled on and off. And perspectives shift to shatter any semblance of a fourth wall between audience, performers and the court. It all lends the production a heightened theatricality that openly invites interpretation, while its narrative remains lucid throughout its three hour run time.

Amadeus is as amusing as it is thought-provoking, as simple as it is clever, and as innovative and creative as the music of the composer it reveres. This revival of Shaffer's magnum opus is a masterpiece.

5/5

Watch: Amadeus runs at the National Theatre until April 2018.


Friday, 19 January 2018

Strangers In Between @ Trafalgar Studios

Strangers In Between @ Trafalgar Studios

Strangers In Between is an exploration of an alternative family unit in the gay community, but it's held back by stereotyping and a messy story that's sometimes touching but lacks raw honesty.

Shane (Roly Botha) is a bubbling mass of hormones and conflict. He's left behind his family in small town Australia for the dazzling urbanity of Sydney. Here he hopes to explore his sexuality and make a new life for himself, but he's torn between flirting with the locals and a past of sexual abuse that causes outbursts of homophobic rage. He's a complex character who frustrates us as much as we sympathise with him, but neither Botha's acting nor Tommy Murphy's script are quite nuanced enough to contain him.

On his journey of self-discovery he meets two men who become his surrogate family. Will (Dan Hunter, who also doubles as Shane's brother) is the sexy hunk whose one night stand with Shane leads to an annoying shadow and a nasty case of genital warts. And Peter (Stephen Connery-Brown) is the typically artistic father figure who takes Shane under his wing and into his kitchen, never far from a bottle of wine. Connery-Brown is given most of the witty comments and provides the majority of the play's entertainment as he dryly quips on Shane's situation and puts him in his place.

Shane barks back at them and retaliates, yet the other two men ultimately dote on him. The final image is of a dysfunctional family and while it's meant to reflect the positivity of the community, it just doesn't feel likely or earned in this instance. And the narrative plays out to the backdrop of what looks like a sauna, but is eventually revealed to be a bathroom used only in one scene - seedy sexual activity looms constantly in the background.

What we're left with is a clichéd story of a twink, a hunk and an older queen that, like so many stories of homosexuality, revolves around an STI. Despite some likeable chemistry between the actors, Strangers In Between is content to simply depict outdated conventions without breaking new ground.

2/5

Watch: Strangers In Between runs at the Trafalgar Studios until February 3rd.

Photo: Scott Rylander

42nd Street @ Theatre Royal Drury Lane

42nd Street @ Theatre Royal Drury Lane

The first thing you see as the curtain rises is a chorus line of tapping feet. And when you're about to watch a production of 42nd Street, what more could you want?

This production at Drury Lane doesn't disappoint. Almost every number has some sort of routine and Randy Skinner choreographs wonderfully. It's not just spectacular rhythmic displays and superhuman stamina - it's the dialogue between rhythms and dancers, the way it switches between toe-tapping joy and sensuality. Your own feet will ache just from watching.

42nd Street offers a glimpse behind the curtain of Broadway with a typical show-within-a-show narrative. It's not the first to do this and it won't be the last, but it certainly doesn't have the wit of something like Kiss Me Kate. The plot is whimsical, focusing on the hard work that goes into producing a hit: the cutthroat auditions, the endless rehearsals, the tragic injuries. At the heart of it all is the rivalry between ageing diva Dorothy Brock (Sheena Easton) and young ingenue Peggy Sawyer (Clare Halse), both struggling under the tyrannical director Julian Marsh (Tom Lister).

But it's also a celebration of glitz and glamour. Sure, their production of 'Pretty Lady' is vapid at best, but this is a show about pure spectacle. It's about never ending chorus lines of synchronised feet; it's about cavernous sets that light up and sparkle; it's about showtunes with melodies you'll never forget; it's about that brilliant finale with all the high kicks, tap shoes and sequinned costumes you can muster. Easton's drawling vocal suits the part well, Lister has a fine voice, and as the leader of the cast Halse is "just swell", but really it's the ensemble who impress the most.

Based on the 1933 film, 42nd Street was originally produced in 1980 as a nostalgia piece. Nothing's changed there. It's a show that's stuck in the past, cemented in tradition. This production does little to update for modern tastes and its misogyny - particularly the older director seducing the young star - seems archaic in the wake of the #metoo movement.

Equally, though, the musical should be viewed as a genre piece of its time, a triumph of history. There are a few stumbles (a dodgy accent here, a misstep there, an out of tune piano at the back) but its dazzling spectacle is a wonder to behold.

4/5

Watch: 42nd Street runs at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane until October 2018.

Ticket courtesy of London Box Office.


Monday, 15 January 2018

Get Out - Jordan Peele

Get Out - Jordan Peele

It's not often that films click with the zeitgeist as completely as Get Out fits with 2017. Its satire of racism is frightening not only for director Jordan Peele's embracing of horror tropes, but for its shocking plausibility.

What's so clever about the film is that its premise is so simple: white girl takes her black boyfriend home to meet her parents and horror ensues. It plays on an obvious fear that we've all had at one point or another, but by placing race at the centre of the story it holds a mirror to society. We may get freaked out by the behaviour shown in the film, but once the credits fade and the lights come up this is everyday life for far too many black members of society.

Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is victim to plentiful moments of casual racism as characters question his body frame, his virility, his sense of cool. It's a biting critique of the ignorance of middle America and Peele directs the scenes with expert timing. The atmosphere slowly morphs from homely warmth to bizarre, the acting is just the wrong side of strange, and creeping anxiety gradually takes hold. The film keeps you on your toes throughout, uncertain of who to trust. And in doing so, it puts us all in the shoes of a victim.

Equally, the film is pulpy and cartoonish fantasy. The film eventually descends into schlocky horror chaos, its twists predictable, its final scenes bordering on silly. When the opening is so sincere and believable while simultaneously tapping into familiar horror tropes, it's almost disappointing that the film ends with such cartoon violence.

But that's the final trick. The film draws us in with its pop culture and its palatable horror. Yet once the blood splatters have dripped their last, we're left with a horrifying vision of our own reality that scares more than cinema ever could.

4/5

Watch: Get Out is out now.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Paramore @ The O2

Paramore @ The O2


"It's been an honour to grow up in front of you," Hayley Williams declared part way through this, Paramore's first gig at the O2 in years. "We are not those people and neither are you."

That's certainly true. Paramore have been through enough difficulty as a band to come back last year with a single called Hard Times. The album that followed, released to widespread acclaim, saw the band steering ever closer to a pure pop sound, yet beneath the tropical synths, lively rhythms and new wave guitars, the beating emo heart remains. Lyrically it depicts Williams' struggles with depression, cleverly masked with playful production.

You wouldn't think that to see them live, however. Williams high-kicks across the stage with seemingly infinite reserves of energy and a vocal that remains pitch perfect, backed by a band that sound as tight as ever. The buoyant music gets the crowd dancing throughout - there's an atmosphere of liberation and glee.

There's also a sense of nostalgia. Tracks like That's What You Get and Misery Business from their breakthrough album 'Riot!' received the loudest response, clearly aimed at those of us who have long since grown up. Yet the latter song saw Williams inviting a young fan up on the stage to sing out every word together, proving their old hits still have resonance.

It was the songs from 'After Laughter' that dominated though: sophisticated pop that show how far the band have come. "Get your dancing shoes on and have your tissues ready," Williams joked, but it's a brilliant summation of the likes of Hard Times, Forgiveness and Told You So. Nods to hits from Blondie and Whitney Houston played on the 80s influences with tongue firmly in cheek. The only sag was No Friend, the band switching pop optimism for scuzzy introversion.

That their final encore was Rose Coloured Boy just shows the importance they place on their new material that's managed to appease long-time fans while bringing in a legion of newer ones. Mostly, for a band with so much misery business, they simply exude fun. There's no extravagant staging or endless political speeches. It's just infectious pop songs and a bloody good time. There's nothing fake happy about that.

4/5

Paramore @ The O2

Paramore @ The O2

Paramore @ The O2



Saturday, 13 January 2018

New Music Friday 12/01

This week we're blessed with a new Troye Sivan track, amongst others, that you need to listen to on repeat.


Troye Sivan - My My My!

Troye Sivan - My My My!

Here's a queer artist fully embracing his identity. The stylish black and white video for My My My! is an absolute celebration of sexuality, a sweaty, sexy nod to cruising with Sivan dancing with gay abandon (literally). Beyond that, it's just a damn good pop song, the sort of song you listen to once and its power is immediately infectious. Dance beats, a simple hook and a middle eight that skips a beat - it's refined, sexy, classic pop.



Dua Lipa - IDGAF

 Dua Lipa - IDGAF

Fine, technically this isn't in NMF, but the video's only just been released and it's as meme-worthy as its predecessor. IDGAF passed me by on Dua's album, though it was a key part of the set at her Brixton show last year. It's also a worthy follow up to New Rules and while the video doesn't have a flamingo, its colourful dance battle is stunning.



Jorja Smith - Let Me Down

 Jorja Smith - Let Me Down

Smith has just been named as the BRITs Critics' Choice for 2018 and having Stormzy join her on this track is sure to add to her fame. Her vocal here is crushing as she sings "I've got you to let me down" in the chorus, Stormzy replying in the verse "Don't go wasting your love on me / When I see tears run, I'm likely to run". There's a hint of Adele's Hometown Glory in the lilting piano too - Smith is following in her footsteps.



Nina Nesbitt - Somebody Special

Nina Nesbitt - Somebody Special

Since leaving Island Records, Nesbitt has released a string of interesting pop tracks far removed from her folky beginnings. Somebody Special is the latest, its verses building towards a hushed finger-clicking chorus. "You're making me believe that I'm somebody special," she sings. This song certainly is.



Marshmello & Lil Peep - Spotlight

 Marshmello & Lil Peep - Spotlight

Spotlight is all about a devastating breakup. "Sex with you is like I'm dreaming," goes the pre-chorus, "Now you're gone I can't believe it". But since the recent death of Lil Peep, the post-emo rapper, the song has been released by producer Marshmello posthumously and its lyrics take on new haunted meaning. Nu-metal meets trap, it's a sad indication of what might have been.



Emily Burns - Bitch

 Emily Burns - Bitch

Burns has been recording in Abbey Road Studios of all places since working there as a receptionist and has since been snapped up by indie label 37 Adventures. Bitch is a spiky, biting critique of a past friendship: "I've heard from everyone else that you're so much better without me...but you don't have to be a bitch about it". With rhythmic production from biLLLy, this is a talent to keep an eye on.



Hailee Steinfeld x BloodPop - Capital Letters

  Hailee Steinfeld x BloodPop - Capital Letters

You'd expect a collaboration between these artists to be something special. Then you realise it's on the Fifty Shades soundtrack and that explains why it's so insipid.



Hayley Kiyoko - Curious

Hayley Kiyoko - Curious

Kiyoko is best known for playing Velma in the Scooby Doo films, but she's a rising star in the music world with a debut album on its way in March. Curious is a flirtatious bop with heavy beats and a coy vocal and fits neatly in the contemporary pop box. Like Sivan, she's embracing her queer identity but the video might take the title a little too literally.


Friday, 12 January 2018

Denim: World Tour @ The Soho Theatre

Denim: World Tour @ The Soho Theatre

Drag is more popular than ever and for that, we really have to thank the incomparable RuPaul. Drag Race has grown from queer niche to transcendent cultural phenomenon, with people from all genders, sexualities and backgrounds enthralled by its parade of enchanting Glamazonians.

That’s why the audience at the Soho Theatre for Denim: World Tour is such a mix. But drag in the UK is different: it’s dirty and scuzzy and punk and, crucially, they don’t lip sync – they actually sing. Denim, then, may be quite different to the polished performers the audience may be expecting.

The show itself, though, is also a mixed bag. The group consists of five queens – Glamrou La Denim, Crystal Vaginova, Electra Cute, Shirley Du Naughty and Aphrodite Jones – who together are the girl band Denim, the show’s central conceit being a stadium performance in Wembley. Except it’s a black box theatre in central London – they just haven’t realised it. Each queen has her moment in the spotlight as well as group numbers, but while the performance is a smart idea, it never quite pulls together into a joke.

That goes for the individual performances too: some of the jokes land, while some of them are missing a punchline and don’t elicit the expected laughs. The queens are at their best when they twist familiar songs: there’s a surprisingly delicate rendition of “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”, a clever nod to Chicago, a Beyoncé song distorted into filth, and Whitney’s “So Emotional” warped into something quite different. But then there are moments of silliness that aren’t as witty, or moments of trite cliché (opening the show with a Lady Gaga medley is just basic, though it is acknowledged as such), or ideas with potential – a gay Muslim torn between his religion and sexuality for instance – that are stretched too thin.

Yet these queens are talented! Looks-wise Ru and Michelle Visage might have a few words to say, but vocally they are impressive. Crystal especially sings in a lovely and surprisingly powerful falsetto that rings over the other girls’ harmonies and Electra Cute eventually gets her moment and offers a triumphant rendition of the Eurovision-winning “Rise Like A Phoenix”.

This particular performance was lacking a little in spark, energy and fierceness, however. You get the sense that this type of show works brilliantly at the Edinburgh Festival, but in a more traditional theatre it lacks intimacy and audience connection. Denim are essentially a cabaret act and they deserve a cabaret venue to do them justice. They might not be Wembley standard, but their World Tour remains hugely entertaining.

3/5

Watch: Denim: World Tour runs at the Soho Theatre until 3rd February.

Denim: World Tour @ The Soho Theatre

Saturday, 6 January 2018

New Music Friday 05/01

Here we are, the first NMF of 2018. And what a way to start the year...


Justin Timberlake - Filthy

Justin Timberlake - Filthy

The trousersnake is back and now he’s out of the woods and filthy. This smacks of an attempt to regain the sex appeal of 'FutureSex/LoveSounds' after the ambitious (if pretentious) dual album 'The 20/20 Experience', its production characterised by electro funk and dangerous, womping basslines. “What you gonna do with all that meat?”, he sings with a wry smile. But this slick electronic sound seems at odds with the Brokeback Mountain-esque Americana feel of the album’s launch trailer earlier this week. And how much of this is Timberlake clinging to the coattails of long-time producer Timberland? And more than anything, where is the hook?



Bruno Mars & Cardi B - Finesse (Remix)

Bruno Mars & Cardi B - Finesse (Remix)

'24k Magic' was mostly filled with saccharine sex anthems, but Finesse is a rare example of the 90s pastiche working. Yes, it sounds just like MJ’s Remember The Time, but it’s a polished and loving throwback to an idol who has so clearly influenced Mars. Cardi B is underused in this remix version, but featuring on such a high profile release just proves how far she’s come.



Kendrick Lamar with SZA - All The Stars

Kendrick Lamar with SZA - All The Stars

It was announced this week that Kendrick will be creating the soundtrack to Marvel’s Black Panther film, which might just end up being the best thing about it. All The Stars is Kendrick at his most commercial – this is certainly a conservative track compared to his previous albums. Even so, he’s able to offer a cinematic anthem that’ll sound great over the credits, a balance of confrontation and hope between his brooding verses and SZA’s soaring chorus.



Liam Payne & Rita Ora - For You

 Liam Payne and Rita Ora - For You

From one soundtrack to another, here’s Liam and Rita with a theme song as damp and generic as the sex scenes in the Fifty Shades film it accompanies. *bin emoji*



Charlie Puth feat. Boyz II Men - If You Leave Me Now

 Charlie Puth feat. Boyz II Men - If You Leave Me Now

Puth’s second album, ‘Voicenotes’, has been pushed back from its January release, but we at least have this beautiful little a capella number featuring Boyz II Men. It might not be as fun as Bruno Mars’ 90s throwback, but this more traditional take is full of heart.



Chloe x Halle - The Kids Are Alright

 Chloe x Halle - The Kids Are Alright

Two young Beyoncés singing a youth anthem over gently hypnotic synths. The sisterly duo, discovered on YouTube and signed to Beyoncé's own Parkwood Entertainment company, are effortlessly on the bleeding edge of cool and here educate us all on youth empowerment. "Call it how we see it, we a genius generation," they sing," better go and get your life".



BØRNS feat. Lana Del Rey - God Save Our Young Blood

 BØRNS feat. Lana Del Rey - God Save Our Young Blood

This track will feature on BØRNS' second album due next week. The American singer, best known for Electric Love, lives in the past almost as much as Del Rey with his 70s inspired glam rock sound. This, though, is a breezy, polished electro-pop track that charts new contemporary territory for them both.



Superorganism - Everybody Wants To Be Famous

Superorganism - Everybody Wants To Be Famous

Superorganism is a fitting name for an indie-pop band who met online and span the Pacific, but it's also fitting for this new single: it's like an amorphous, vibrant blob of trilling synths, guitars, cash register samples and vocals leaden with ennui. "It seems like everybody wants to be famous," sings lead vocalist Orono, bored with Internet fame. Judging by this, fame is something they're going to have to get used to.



Friday, 5 January 2018

Bananaman The Musical @ Southwark Playhouse

Bananaman The Musical @ Southwark Playhouse

Despite the popularity of superhero films and comic book franchises over the last couple of decades, a musical about this 80s fruit-based hero seems an unlikely choice. Yet here we are with Bananaman The Musical, a love letter to David Donaldson’s character by Leon Parris, who wrote the book, lyrics and music for this adaptation.

I confess, I am more aware of the comic and TV show than familiar with it, it being slightly before my time. The musical’s faithfulness to the original comics is for another reviewer.

But this is clearly engineered to be a night of nostalgia, what with the stage framed by blown up images taken from the Beano comic and TV theme tunes played as the audience enter. It’s a colourful, chaotic production filled with British silliness and irreverence. It certainly feels like a comic strip come to life, its story revolving around teenager Eric Wimp who, after a freak accident, turns into the titular hero when he eats a banana and is tasked with thwarting the dastardly plans of dual villains Doctor Gloom and General Blight. Bananaman himself is a bit of a dunce, with the muscles of twenty men and the brain of twenty mussels as the comics state, but this provides plenty of opportunity for comedy in lampooning other heroes who take their power and responsibility far more seriously.

For the uninitiated, though, the flimsy and inconsequential plot is stretched paper thin and the jokes eventually become tedious. There are some modern updates – Fiona, for instance, is now a young journalist permanently attached to her phone – but Parris seems most concerned with giving it all heart by exploring Eric’s struggle with the responsibility of power. It becomes more Spiderman than Superman, when really it’s far more fun to simply watch the klutzy hero. The narrative is too slight to hold up any thematic depth.

And then the cracks begin to show in the production, with clunky staging, awkward scene changes and laughable effects. Much of the show’s humour derives from breaking the fourth wall to poke fun at the production itself, but it’s ambiguous how much of this is intentional rather than papering over the cracks, no matter how in-keeping it is with the spirit of irreverence. Bananaman himself, though, is performed well by Matthew McKenna with the slick costume to match.

The production isn’t helped by a score that’s lively but frantic, too often overlaying melodies and harmonies as to make lyrics incomprehensible. Either that or the songs slow the fast-paced action to a crawl, without offering anything particularly memorable. There is some fine singing, however, especially from Emma Ralston as Fiona, but it’s Marc Pickering’s Doctor Gloom who steals the show, dedicated to the silliness of both the character and the production with a tongue-in-cheek performance. As a whole the cast have a lot of fun and their enjoyment is infectious, even if this (literally) bananas show seems aimed squarely at children of the past.

3/5

Watch: Bananaman The Musical runs at the Southwark Playhouse until 20th January.

Bananaman The Musical @ Southwark Playhouse

Bananaman The Musical @ Southwark Playhouse
Photos: Pamela Raith