Review: In Pieces: a new musical (stream.theatre)

A young British cast come to the screen in Joey Contreras’s romantic musical, In Pieces, directed by Louis Rayneau, and set in New York.

Filmed in the empty space of KidZania (where children can pretend they are in grown-up places like banks and supermarkets), a sense is created of a typical urban square populated by these little stories of making up, breaking up, and obsession.

The cast features Kyle Birch, Amy Di Bartolomeo, Hiba Elchikhe, Jordan Luke Gage, Ross Harmon, Beccy Lane, Danielle Steers and Luke Street in the leading roles, with additional emsemble members.

Rachel Sargent has developed some interesting choreography which works whether on a stage or in the aisles of K-Market. This has both a generic feel and a foot in the unknown.

Screencap from In Pieces

In Pieces is much more of a song cycle, rather than a musical which flowed with a plot and emotional engagement with the characters. That isn’t to say that the piece is not good (it is, very), but it doesn’t stand out from the crowd other than in a handful of the performances.

Recent graduate Kyle Birch, who I first saw in the Union Theatre’s Untapped season and then in the Graduates at Cadogan Hall show, makes the most of his songs and I see a definite star of the future here.

Jordan Luke Gage, Danielle Steers, and Ross Harmon also caught my eye in their numbers, and they continue to grow and develop as artists.

Their singing (albeit mimed, there is no live performance here) is great, and they strive to make something of a character connection despite the underwriting of the book behind this sung-through cycle of more than twenty songs.

Screencap from In Pieces: Kyle Birch, Danielle Steers

There are eight main characters: Alex, Jael, and Austyn (who can be gender neutral); River and Sam (female); and Grey, Charlie, and Hunter (male). However, this is an LGBTQ+ focused project and can be cast however feels appropriate to the production.

The synopsis in the marketing materials for In Pieces talks about how “our love lives are … constantly shifting in and out of feeling fully complete”.

The characters are given vague traits which helps to define them (for example, Grey is “popular, but hurting”, Hunter is “stubborn, but likeable”, and Austyn is “romantic, but shy”), but these are inevitably difficult to put across fully through their songs.

Screencap from In Pieces

Those songs range from ensemble pieces to solos and duets, all set around young couples and those seeking love in New York.

I particularly liked Like You Don’t Miss Me (a trio piece for Steers, Di Bartolomeo and Elchikhe which bursts with attitude) and Me and Mr Popularity goes on a journey from childhood memories to cautious adulthood.

The Fork in the Road is an ensemble piece which seems to say “I know where I’m going, and I’m loving the journey”.

In Pieces is available on stream.theatre until 26 April 2021 – book here.

LouReviews received complimentary access to review In Pieces.

Check out my other reviews of shows streamed on stream.theatre.

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