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Home arrow Archive: EdFringe 2013 arrow Snakes! The Musical
Snakes! The Musical
Published on Saturday, 17 August 2013

5 stars

Just the Tonic at The Caves (venue website)
1-12, 14-25 Aug, 10:20pm-11:20pm
Reviewed by Lizzie Bell

 Recommended for age 16+ only.

A musical about a musical, about snakes, on a plane. In a tiny room. This is as crazy as it sounds: the plot is bizarre, the cast minimal and the scenery as good as your imagination can make it. Just three actors and a lot of enthusiasm play the roles of a full-cast 'West End musical', in a lively performance that’s sure to have you laughing hard.

The show jumps straight in with a catchy (and very serpentine) opening number, which sets the scene before you are fully sure what is going on. It soon becomes clear that the 'director', Thom, has written a musical – and that we, the audience, are the West End producers whom Thom hopes to impress. Will and Marina play the 38 (yes, 38) cast members, with all the jumping around and silly voices that such a feat entails.

The show pokes fun at all the clichés of film and theatre. The fictional plane’s flight attendants dance and sing while handing out the hot towels. Leroy Toughman, the hero, talks of getting home for his son's baseball game (what could possibly go wrong?) The stage 'revolves'. Now and then the action stops, and we get an insight into the director's vision for his show, the cast and the scenery.

This script is full of in-jokes. But don't panic – you don't need to have seen Snakes On a Plane, or even many musicals; the sheer madness will carry you through regardless. If you are a musical aficionado, however, you’ll love the digs at the staging, casting and musical numbers. I especially enjoyed the 'off focus' acting: while Thom espouses his great plans, Will and Marina superbly mirror the audience’s scepticism, and while the action rolls we see Thom fawning over Will – it’s brilliantly played.

The start did feel a little awkward, with the audience not quite sure of the role it had been cast in, but once we realised we were playing producers there was a palpable sense of relaxation and enjoyment. The singing overall was very good; some of the numbers had exceptional solos, despite some occasional missed notes. The pre-recorded accompaniment meant that there was not always a sufficient pause for laughter, but in a sense, I suppose, that’s a nice problem to have.

Overall, this light-hearted, comedy-filled show is one you will not want to miss. So have your passports ready for flight 666 Rome to London, and please do check your bags before you board... With this show, Quite Nice Theatre are definitely flying high.

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