Skip to content


Hanover the Musical!
Published on Tuesday, 08 May 2012

4 stars

Hanover Community Centre (venue website)
5-6, 12-13, 19-20, 26-27 May, 8:30pm-10:15pm
Reviewed by Darren Taffinder

 Suitable for age 15+ only.
 Warning: Contains strong language and nudity.
 World Premiere.

For anyone not native to Brighton, Hanover is a small area above Kemp Town about five minutes from the sea, known for three things – the hill, pubs, and being a bit ‘alternative’. There’s nowhere to park and the brightly coloured houses are packed so tightly together that you can hear your neighbour stirring their tea in the morning. Did I mention the hill? I’ve lived in Hanover since 2001, about twenty seconds away from the Hanover Community Centre, which is the venue for this affectionate look at what it’s like to live on Muesli Mountain.

‘Affectionate’ in this case means biting irreverent satire, and there is a lot to satire about Hanover. It’s the sort of place where your neighbour is a vegetarian yogi practitioner who starts every morning with Tai Chi on the Level. Where you have your free trade latte with soya milk and gluten-free biscuits. And there is a pub on every corner.

Written by Mark Brailsford, best known for his long-running sketch night The Treason Show, the story is basically a riff on Passport to Pimlico. While having some work done on the basement of his pub, Grey’s landlord ‘Stanley’ (in a meta-twist he’s played by Chris Beaumont, The Grey’s real landlord) discovers a hidden treasure, and a royal decree that grants Hanover independence from the UK. So far so good – that is, until the coalition government cuts off food supplies and the beer runs out.

But what really makes the show are its laugh-out-loud parodies of well-known songs. They lampoon everything from our local Green councillor to Churchill Square burger vans, the Argus to the lack of parking, the sanitation plant at Newhaven to our various pubs. On top of all that, there are some great video send-ups of government films from the 50’s, and a moment of brilliance involving an American news report.

Hanover The Musical proves that local theatre by local actors, written by a local writer, doesn’t have to be amateur. There are great performances all round, but the real standouts for me were the two female performers, Hannah Summers and Joanna Fisher. Summers in particular appeared in variety of roles that showcased her fine voice, while Fisher was lovely as the smitten barmaid.

My one concern is that it’s a little too local. I’m not sure that down-hillers, other residents of Brighton, would get some of the jokes… let alone out-of-towners. So, a must-see if you live on the hill. A good night out if you’re a Brightonian. Fun if you’re coming from Hove. But, prepare to be slightly mystified if you training in from north of Burgess Hill.

<< It's Not Easy Being Yello...   Ragnarok: The Weird of th... >>


These are archived reviews of shows from Brighton 2012.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.