Guest reviewer: Evie Freeman
GUY: A New Musical (paired in the BREAKING OUT season with KISS CHASE) is about the difficulties millennials face when trying to find love on dating apps. The show revolves around a pair of friends: Guy (Brendan Matthew) and Tyler (Steve Banks). Tyler finds it easy to speak to, and gain connections with, new boys whereas Guy struggles. In the superficial world of dating apps where not looking like a model means you can be brushed aside, his weight makes the most common words seen on his phone to be “sorry, but you’re not my type”. We’re introduced to Joe the outrageously confident PT (Adam Braidley) and Aziz, a strong and fiery man played by Seann Miley Moore. The unlikely pairing of Guy and Aziz starts to form, but trouble arises when a case of catfishing may have occurred somewhere down the line.
The sound design by Dan Mawson is new and innovative, with electric backing tracks and slick effects used throughout the show, but the classical sounding lyrics and melodies don’t always mix as well as hoped; you can see the intention behind it and mixing older with newer sounds, but it has work to do before the mix is smooth enough to the ear.
In musicals, it’s imperative for songs to come out of emotion – for you to feel that the character is left with no words to speak and the only thing left for them to do is sing. However, in many cases, the songs don’t feel organic in this way. This isn’t to say that some aren’t lovely to listen to (I have already downloaded The Rain Before The Rainbow!).
The cast have strong pop/contemporary voices which suits the style of the backing tracks and their acting is believable in places. The storyline is slightly questionable at times; the drama feels too unexpected and the end comes quite abruptly considering a slower first half. However, the diverse characters and the way the online conversations are staged is effective and amusing. It does make you realise how shallow people can be when it comes to love in 2018.
My verdict? There are points during the story which are funny, and scenes which are relatable whichever gender you choose to date, but there are many clichés and unnecessary innuendos which feel slightly forced. The staging and use of props and scenery is as slick as it can be considering the space and lack of wings but some of the direction feels unnatural to watch. It’s a strong concept for a show and a topic that many people can relate to and want to see more of.
GUY: A New Musical runs at The Bunker Theatre as part of the BREAKING OUT season until 7 July 2018. Tickets are available online or from the box office, including a limited number of £10 tickets for U30s and £22 double bill passes.