Sunday, 15 April 2018

REVIEW: Twang!! at the Union Theatre

If you know anything about musical theatre history, you’ll know that Twang!! is remembered as one of the most expensive and dramatic West End flops to grace the London stage. Having premiered in London in 1965 it has been updated and tweaked by Julian Woolford and its now a stagey hit that speaks to the 2018 audiences. 

Playing at the pocket-sized Union Theatre, this production has a charm and involvement element to it that no other show has. The constant stagey references may be exhausting to some, but we lapped it up! 

Bryan Hodgson is one of the most exciting upcoming directors at the moment, his work on this show brings it into our century and gives a new life to this Lionel Bart flop, but hopefully it’ll have the opposite affect at the Union as it deserves a successful run.

Hodgson’s version of this show is fantastic and with Mitchell Harper’s choreography it’s a perfect match. He brings all of your favourite West End classics and puts it into one show with his own added sparkle, what they achieve in this small space is wonderful. 

Talking of small spaces, the Union is basically a black box room, but Justin Williams and Jonny Rust design brings so much life to this space and I was very impressed with what they’d done in this theatre. 

A mention must go to the Musical Director, Henry Brennan, who does a fabulous job with the score and turned out to be one of the most memorable performances of the night. When you see it, you’ll know why. 

There are stand out performances from Jessica Brady (Delphina), Christian Lunn (Little John), Kane Verrall (Will Scarlett) and Lewis McBean (Prince John). 

Jessica Brady brings some brilliant comedy to the role of Delphina, she has a
natural presence on stage that suited this show and role perfectly. The absolute right energy for this type of show and a pair of chops to match it! 

Christian Lunn must have one of the most impressive vocal ranges I’ve ever seen on stage, the notes that boy hits are crazy! He also brings a lot of real charm and truthfulness to the role, which is actually quite refreshing in a comedy like this. He brought lots of light and shade to the plot which it needed. 

This show is worth seeing just for Kane Verrall, and in a pair of heels? Could we ask for more? He brings so much life and personality to this production, perfect casting in the role of Will Scarlett and you won’t forget his performance for a while! 

Lewis McBean gives one of the strongest and most consistent performances in this production, a classic panto villain without the tackiness. He classed it up, separating the role from a panto villain, but still gave us everything we wanted. One to keep your eye on. 

Although I have picked out these actors from the company as stand outs, this is truly an ensemble piece and each one of the cast contribute to a truly fun and enjoyable evening. 

By no means is this a ground-breaking piece of theatre but if you are a theatre fan, its everything you could ever ask for in a musical. So, whilst all you stagey people are waiting for Heathers to come to London, see this to fulfil your stagey needs in the mean time! 

If you’re as stagey as us, you’ll love this show! One of the original parodies in theatre, it’s had a fresh take on it and with these talented creatives and cast it has a new life that everyone must see. 

Review by Mark Swale 

Rating: ★★★★

Seat: Unallocated, middle of the second row | Price of Ticket: £22.50
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