MAKING WAVES: A SONG CYCLE – THE HIDDEN THEATRE COMPANY (Camden Fringe) ★★★☆☆

21st Century life, a crazy smorgasbord or emotions and feelings all colliding together, little drops at a time making the ebb and flow millennial life, Making Waves: A Song Cycle is about just that. It tackles little vignettes of modern life that we all know all too well.

 

The piece starts with a lovely choral number of Beyond The Hillside, a song a seeming hope and grandeur which has some lovely harmonies and is well fitted to all of the cast, from there we break into the main body of the show, an array of humorous, heart wrenching and familiar topics. The music of the piece was lovely, wholly original and every changing, it was inspiring to hear such new music, however the show’s slight downfall was the lyrics. Although most were well structured and flowing, they were a little clunky and somewhat literal, not leaving much to our imagination. Perhaps this was due to the fact the piece has very little dialogue and so we need to be carried through by the song, something I feel the piece could benefit from. A few bit of dialogue at the beginning of songs would help to carry the narrative of the story.

 

On that, the concept of the piece was great, especially the idea of Christopher Burgess character being a coffee shop observer and us being able to track certain characters relationships, but it wasn’t throughout, it dropped in and out so I feel the piece could be strengthened by making a constant through-line to carry us through the stand alone songs. This is what turns a song cycle into a piece of theatre.

 

Having said all of that however there were some very strong positives to the piece, the characters where larger than life and funny stereotypes which The Hidden Theatre Company did a great job of not being over the top with, there is a strong capability to make them crass and clown like, they avoided this perfectly. I have to add as well that the slow songs in the piece where stand out favourites both lyrically and melodically, Fooling Myself was beautifully written. There where some great performances, namely from Taylor Rettke who voice seems effortlessly endless, Christopher Burgess who did a brilliant job of keeping the piece together and Abby Restall who managed to constantly draw your eye on stage with her strong acting ability and singing class.

 

My personal highlight of the show was Ginger’s Lament which was a hilariously written song and all four of the actors involved shined, the musical parody at the end was perfectly judged. Overall Making Waves has some very strong ideas and a lot of hard work has clearly gone into the piece and with a little bit of work and tweaking, has the ability to be a song cycle to rival the Songs For A New World & I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change’s out there.

 

ANTHONY ORME

★★★☆☆

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