King’s Head Theatre and Spectacular Music present Alexander S. Bermange’s sparkling musical revue I Wish My Life Were Like A Musical, which heads into London from the Edinburgh Fringe with a quartet of musical theatre performers cheerfully lampooning their craft and genre.
From drama school to diva, auditions to adversaries, this hour is melodically spot-on and lyrically fun. If you’ve ever stood on a stage or sat in an audience, this is for you.
West End regulars Luke Bayer, Charlotte O’Rourke, Lucas Rush and Charlotte Anne Steen show their comedic chops as Bermange accompanies them on the piano, and director/choreographer Chris Whittaker keeps the energy high and the pace moving along.
Every song has its ancestry in a big musical elsewhere, but with tongue firmly in cheek. All the quartet shine in this piece but Rush made me howl with laughter whenever he appeared. Bayer’s number about almost taking the lead when you’re an understudy is fun, and the audition piece (where the panel are “checking their watch, scratching their crotch”) is painfully on point.
With a song in its heart, a spring in its step, and some serious jazz hands, I Wish My Life Were Like a Musical is fun from the opening number which is about … the opening number and when the show proper actually starts. You’ll recognise the feeling and the fixed smiles.
Especially now, as new entrants to the profession face an uneasy and uncertain path to the role of their dreams, I Wish My Life Were Like a Musical feels ever more relevant. It isn’t just an in-joke to musical theatre afficionados and actors, but an affectionate love song to the shuttered spaces which come to life when the curtain goes up or the lights go down.
This is a musical with a big heart, a sassy smile, and a full-blown dance number. It will remind you why you join “the overpaying audience” and give you a reason to like those people in the business called show even more.
Just don’t be that stalker at the stage door!
I Wish My Life Were Like a Musical is part of the KHTV Plays on Film season (alongside JEW…ish, Vespertilio, Illusions of Liberty, and Sacrament). All five shows are now available to watch until 12 May.