Tuesday, 23 March 2021

REVIEW: BKLYN The Musical (Online)

How much do you think it would cost to hire five actors to follow you around and sing the soundtrack to your life? Asking for a friend. 

BKLYN is a musical within a musical. Five street performers tell the fairly-tale of Brooklyn; a young Parisian ballerina who crosses the Atlantic in search of her long-lost father. The story has everything you could want from a good ol’ tragi-romance; love, death, mystery, a Parisian summer fling, and, I know what you were thinking, a sing-off, of course. It’s whimsical, heart-warming fun, with a touch of magic for good measure. 

There are many things to say about the online Lambert and Jackson revival, but the one thing I simply cannot get over is the cast. I would kiss the casting director if I could. ‘Powerhouse’ barely does them justice, but we shouldn’t be surprised. Sejal Keshwala (Faith), Emma Kingston (Brooklyn), Jamie Muscato (Taylor) and Marisha Wallace (Paradice) have a list of well-deserved credits taller than me, and Newtion Matthews (street singer), who, admittedly, I did not know before today, deserves the most illustrious career there is going. As soon as Matthews opened his mouth I was enamoured with him, and when he was joined by the cast in some soaring 5-part harmonies, I was utterly lost in their world. 

The gutted, industrial set is versatile and atmospheric, the musicians are as talented as they come and the costumes fit right into the canon of urban, contemporary musicals we’ve come to know and love (and Marisha Wallace will always pull off a gold, glittery number like no one else). Dean Johnson’s direction is wonderfully cohesive, traversing the two interlocking narratives with ease, and the camera work is subtle but beautiful. The people who put this show together are clearly world class creatives, and, to whoever brought them all together; it really is a talent to spot talent. 

The 2004 musical itself isn’t necessarily the most inspired piece of writing currently on offer, however. It certainly plays into many tropes which have been done before, but it still holds up as an enchanting piece of escapism, which is really what we need right now. 

BKLYN streams until April 4th, and take my word, you will not see such a seamless, star-powered production in a little while.

Review by Anna Smith 

Rating: ★★★★

Seat: Online | Price of Ticket: £15

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