Don’t go expecting this to be another SIX (the mega-hit musical which started at Cambridge University Musical Theatre Society) and instead enjoy a silly story of cuddly toy lotuses who have evil intentions!
As Lotus Land takes over as the premier global theme park, millions of Larry the Lotus toys (they’re cute, even if they are not to be trusted) are lying in wait, waiting for their command from Jack Lotus, “ahead of the game”.
Brian (Nathan Galpin) and his stepson Johnny (Jamie Ellis) work the Lotus line and miss wife and mother Rosie (Iona Rogan). Hackett (Kate South) dreams of the lost chance to dance on the chorus line.
Using video clips, still photographs, a few well-placed props, and the composer (Lily Blundell) on-stage to keep the music moving, Invasion is pretty ambitious fare.
It boasts impressive performances from its student cast (notably Galpin, Gregory Miller as Jack, Rogan as the PM) and some fun lyrics from writer-directors (Jasper Robin & Jonathan Powell).
If you don’t think about the plot too much and take this for some world domination fluff about aliens, you’ll have a good time. It isn’t perfect yet, with some songs not quite landing and some vocals, spoken and sumg, drowned out by the music.
The political angle is fun, with a government who “should not, cannot, and will not” do, well, basically anything. Galpin does well as a stepfather who doesn’t know how to move on; and Freya Cowan is a believable radical.
Invasion has a few things to iron out, but what’s there is enjoyable, and a couple of the songs dig deep enough to be remembered. It’s a mad scramble of a show that has the potential to be tweaked into a sleeper hit; not there yet, but well on the way.
Well done, CUMTS (and be careful how you spell and pronounce that!).
Invasion came to an end at Camden People’s Theatre last night, but you can keep up with it and other shows from the company on their website.
Image credit: Charlotte Dargan