musical

Be More Chill @ The Other Palace 😊💄🐾 – Review

Hello! Been trying to get a few more blog posts out this month to document some of the shows I’ve booked for this month. I’ve so far been to see Sinderella which I covered in my last post, Carly Rae Jepsen and the subject of this post Be More Chill! I’ve also got Boy In The Dress booked which I also hope to write post about after!

…Anyway back to Chill!

On Saturday 15th February I went to see the UK production of Be More Chill at The Other Palace, London. I had been dying to see this show ever since my friend Frances and I discovered the opening number “More Than Survive” through Spotify and we were hooked ever since!

The cast of the London production consists of Scott Folan (Jeremy), Blake Patrick Anderson (Michael), Miracle Chance (Christine), Stewart Clarke (The Squip), Eloise Davies (Brooke), Christopher Fry (Jeremy’s Dad and Mr Reyes), James Hameed (Rich), Renée Lamb (Jenna), Millie O’ Connell (Chloe) and Miles Paloma (Jake).

We spotted Joe Iconis the shows composer in the interval and got a selfie!

Be More Chill is based on the novel of the same title by Ned Vizzini, the show tells the story of unpopular high school kid Jeremy who desperately wants to fit in. When we first meet Jeremy he is just trying to muddle through high school life, but he longs for more, he wants to “More than Survive”. It seems Jeremy’s prayers are answered when school bully Rich introduces Jeremy to a special pill called a SQUIP (Super Quantum Unit Intel Processor). The pill contains a super computer which when taken implants itself into the users brain and teaches them how to be “Cool”. The rest of the show is about how Jeremy reacts to the effects of being SQUIPped and attempts to win the heart of his crush (Christine) along with navigating the trials and turmoil of teen/high school life.

We were sat in the 3rd row so had a very good view of the show. I think the show works well with the smaller venue, making the audience feel they are part of the action.

One of the great things about Be More Chill is that many of the songs are group numbers so everyone gets their chance to shine. More Than Survive and The Smartphone Hour being two of my favourite group numbers, the latter is a great commentary on the social media age, while also providing us with one of the most entertaining numbers of the show. Renée Lamb nails the role of school gossip Jenna who kicks off “The Smartphone Hour” with a very engaging and funny performance. Out of all the songs I still think that Michael In The Bathroom has got to be favourite from the whole show, its a very relatable song (which you would probably not expect from the title!) and Blake Patrick Anderson does a very good job portraying Michael. I also enjoyed Scott Folan’ Jeremy and Stewart Clarke’s SQUIP (ALL THE COSTUME CHANGES!!!) the actors/characters play very well off each other.

The show is only at The Other Place until t14th June, so I highly recommend you go see it if you haven’t already, C-c-c c’mon go go!

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Well Rebecca, you’ve done it now! – A Love Letter to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

*Contains some Spoilers for the series*

Since the musical comedy/drama Crazy Ex-Girlfriend concluded last week, I felt I had to write a love letter to this lovely, quirky, awesome, amazing show.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend stars Rachel Bloom (co-creator of the show with Aline Brosh McKenna) as lawyer ‘Rebecca Bunch’ unhappy with her life in New York decides after a chance encounter with her ex-boyfriend ‘Josh Chan’ (Vincent Rodriquez III) to move to West Covina, California. “It happens to be where Josh lives but thats not why she’s here!” to quote the season 1 theme song, As soon as Rebecca arrives in West Covina appropriately with the first song of the series ‘West Covina’, her world instantly looks a lot brighter compared to the dull, muted colours of New York! Long story short Rebecca quickly finds a new job at West Covina law firm ‘Whitefeather Associates’ ran by the loveable but awkward ‘Darryl Whitefeather’ (Pete Gardener) , it is here she also meets her future frenemy/bestie Paula Proctor (Donna Lynne Champlin). Without giving too much away for people who have not yet seen the show, much of the first season is about Rebecca trying to win back the affections of her ex, while denying that he was the real reason she moved to West Covina!

“I’ve never seen a pretzel this big! 🥨”

The first thing I love about this show is that it subverts a lot of tropes, the main one being the title of the show, Rebecca does suffer with mental health issues but she is a 3-dimensional character who is not just lazily written off as being ‘Crazy’. The show approaches the topic of mental illness extremely well not just passing it off as some silly joke like other show’s might, they handle the topic with the delicacy it deserves. I’ve often found with a lot of films/TV shows which portray characters suffering from mental illness the characters often ‘cure’ their depression etc by the end of the story, where as Crazy Ex follows the more realistic approach, that mental health is something that you need to work at, there is no magical ‘I’m cured!’ moment. The fact that Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna consulted a panel of doctors to make sure they wrote an accurate diagnosis for Rebecca reveals how much love and care is put into the show.

To cope with the stress in her life Rebecca has developed an interesting coping mechanism, she imagines certain moments in her life as musical numbers. The musical numbers are all original songs written for show and encompass a vast array of musical genres from Broadway,EDM,Pop,Hip-Hop and more! (I honestly think there is something for almost everyone’s musical taste) ‘You Stupid Bitch’, ‘Dream Ghost’ and We’ll Never Have Problems Again’ being some of my favourite songs from the series (I’ll have to do a top 10 post at some point!)

“We’ll Never Have Problems Again!”

Another think I really like about the show is it’s diverse cast, there are characters of various ethnicities and members of the LGBTQ community within the main cast. its refreshing to see ‘Josh Chan’ an Asian-American as the lead ‘heartthrob’ who Rebecca moves across the country for. Darryl’s story arc, where he discovers his bisexuality is another example of something often not seen on TV. Shows are often criticised for writing characters that don’t want to identify as bisexual, with Darryl this is completely subverted, there is even a song, ‘Gettin’ Bi’ which perfectly deconstructs the popular misconceptions of bisexuality to an 80’s inspired tune.

Heather played by Vella Lovell is another stand out character for me, her snarky, sarcastic delivery is always on point. I especially love Heather’s Anti-High School Musical-esque number “The Moment is Me” which she sings after graduating college, which is an example of classic Heather at her best!

I love the quotability of the show, “that was super rando!” is now very much part of my vocabulary! My partner and I often find ourselves quoting ‘We’ll Never Have Problems Again” when we encounter couples in the honeymoon phase and my best friend and I often end up singing “I Have Friends”. The way that all of these songs and quotable moments have stuck with me, convey what a special show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was/is and I look forward to re-visiting the show many times in future!

(The whole series of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is available on Netflix)

PS I have recently booked tickets for Rachel Bloom’s London show (IM SO EXCITED!!)

PPS since this is a Memeow Blog post after all…

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