Sunday, 25 June 2017

REVIEW: The Quentin Dentin Show at the Tristan Bates theatre


Elevator music welcome us into the auditorium at the Tristan Bates theatre for ‘The Quentin Dentin Show’. Everyone is dressed in white, as is the stage, and the actors move in robotic movements welcoming the audience to their seats. A relaxing voiceover is telling us to ‘Relax’ to ‘take your seats’ and ‘Don’t spill your drink’ as well as other instructions. 


The show revolves around Keith, Nat and robotic ‘Friends 1,2 and 3’ one of which is picked to be Quentin Dentin to host ‘The Quentin Dentin Show’; a game show with a maniacal twist. After friend number three is chosen, with the promise of an upgrade if he completes his task of being Quentin by ‘The Programme’ (an ominous being we only hear the voice of). We are then introduced to unhappy couple, Keith and Nat, sitting on the sofa eating the same meal they have been eating for the last few nights. It’s clear their life if boring and their relationship is stale. They are officially stuck in a rut and that is when Quentin appears; out of the radio none the less and offers them everything they could ever have hoped for. The despondent couple are soon whisked into the show and are very shocked to see people in the walls as they are introduced to the studio audience (us) sitting in their living room. The game show resolves into dance numbers and uptempo songs trying to convince the couple to agree to subscribe to ‘The Programme’.

This musical is superb. It’s coming to The Tristan Bates after critical acclaim on the Edinburgh Fringe and it’s clear to see why it received such a great response. First off the music and lyrics by Henry Carpenter is a triumph, it pays homage to old style rock ’n’ roll with a contemporary feel to it along with witty and funny lyrics. The script is as reflection on modern ’The grass is always greener’ mentality people seem to hold so dearly on to in modern society and can’t embrace and love the things they have. The premise of a game show is really effective, It’s an enlightening thought experiment which really does make you think about life; sprinkled with satire and you have a script that really works. This show, however is nothing without Quentin Dentin. 

Luke Lane stars as Friend 3/Quentin Dentin and is phenomenal. He has such charisma and presence he takes over the stage and commands everything as a game show host must. He displays both an attraction as the host of the show and a hunger to succeed and raise to a higher status. His voice is also superb and versatile, a true master of his craft. Along with Luke are Shauna Riley and
Max Panks (Keith and Nat respectively) who play the despondent couple well. The two of them compliment each other vocally and play their roles brilliantly, Shauna’s command on comedy is wonderful. Along with Lottie-Daisy Francis and Freya Tilly (Friend 2 and 3) the cast is well composed and jell perfectly together. 

Beautifully directed, fantastically choreographed and well directed this new musical soars over other fringe shows. Meticulously executed The Quentin Dentin show leaves the audience amused yet pondering life as they leave the auditorium. 

This Triumph of new musical theatre runs at the Tristan Bates Theatre until the 29th of July and I implore you to see it. 

Review by James-Lee Campbell

Rating: ★★★★

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