This latest show in the current season of ADC Theatre, University of Cambridge, is an odd one. While promoted as a new musical, A Blown Job pads out its 134-minute running time with a lot of non-musical moments, as it moves along its story of a group of would-be bank robbers.
Blackly comic and bringing in many plot points like the overbearing mother, the chief police chief with a shady past, and a bit of romance across the divide, A Blown Job ultimately succeeds in being neither fish nor fowl.
A pity, as there are moments of promise, and a couple of interesting song-dance routines (with a fine ten-piece band keeping the musical aspects of the show moving along). I just didn’t feel invested enough in the show, and feel it could do with a rethink or a trim to have a future life beyond a streamed production on YouTube.
A cast of fifteen do their best with the material, and a few of them really stand out when they have their moment in the spotlight (Ollie Taylor’s Scotty Flek, Nicole Tilby’s Sgt Bobby, Emilia Grace’s Andrew Garfunkel, Gabriel Jones’s Matt).
However, I felt the comic timing was a little out at times – I like my cops and robbers to be a bit more frenetic, farcical, or Keystone Kops – and there was too much going on in this admittedly ambitious musical.
Thomas Cox and Dominic Carrington are the writer and composer of this show, which is part of the University’s drama programme, directed and choreographed by Lucy Thompson. I liked the mix of drama and comedy, but not enough attention has been given to drawing out some of the characterisations.
Bobby and Bobbi, the “bobbies”, have potential, but something feels missing; similarly bank owner/police chief Garfunkel (played by a slinky clone of which I can only assume to be a cross between Meghan M and Kim K) is funny, but a little out of place.
This show does have moments which take flight, and it is available freely, so you can watch at any time and enjoy it as a work in progress, but as a fully-realised musical I found it just a little disappointing, compared to other student shows I have enjoyed recently.
A Blown Job premiered on 4 March, and remains available on ADC Theatre’s YouTube channel with the other productions from their season.