Theatre returns to London - a review of the musical 'Be More Chill'
A whole 7 months without a trip into central London to see a show, it barely seems credible. The chance to see a quirky musical in London's theatreland was too good to miss, so with our NHS App, hand sanitiser and masks off we went!
The outside of the Shaftesbury Theatre is looking a bit sad at the moment with hoardings across the front which made us did wonder if it was actually open or if we'd come to the wrong place, but we were welcomed and quickly shown to our seats. The evening we visited the show wasn't fully booked, so the usher moved us to alternative seats so that we weren't sitting next to other patrons.
What's the story?
Set in an American High School, it's a classic tale of geeky boy being bullied by the in-crowd and wanting his life to change. Jeremy is played by Scott Folan and manages to be lanky, awkward and tongue tied when it comes to talking to Christine (played by Miracle Chance), the girl who just loves being in rehearsals. He has one loyal friend, Michael (played brilliantly by Blake Patrick Anderson), with whom he plays a lot of video games. Michael keeps telling him that their time will come once they get to college, but Jeremy is fed up of the bullying and being ignored.
His chief tormenter Rich, admits to Jeremy that his confidence has come from a 'Squip', Nano technology that once swallowed implants in the brain and gives guidance. Completely untested and illegal, Jeremy obtains the tablet and the Squip implants itself. Taking the form of Keanu Reeves in The Matrix, the Squip starts to take control. Stewart Clarke, makes the Squip funny, aggressive, insightful, but also callous - he controls Jeremy's brain so that he is no longer even able to see the broken-hearted Michael.
It turns out that everyone has their facades; the pretty popular girls worry that they aren't really liked, the class gossip that no-one listens to her, and the popular boy that all there is to him is sporting prowess. Whilst Christine finds it easier to be in rehearsal than deal with day to day life. Jeremy's dad is in mourning for his failed marriage, not being the father that Jeremy wants or needs.
The stand-out song of the show for me was 'Michael in the Bathroom', hiding from the rest of the party-goers at a party he's gate-crashed in order to see Jeremy, he pours his heart out to the bathroom mirror.
The climax of the show is finding out the Squip's plans for world domination, and how Michael helps Jeremy to fight back. Jeremy's father dons his trousers (pants for Americans!) and all relationships and mended, with a glimmer of hope for Jeremy and Christine's budding romance.
The show is high energy, well sung, humorous, and overall a really good escapist night at the theatre. Catch it whilst you can.
When is on?
Playing now until 5th September 2021
Where is it on?
Shaftesbury Theatre Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8DP
What are the Performance Times?
Tuesdays - Saturdays at 7.30 p.m.
Thursday & Saturday matinees at 2.30 p.m.
Sundays at 4.00 p.m.