The secret is well and truly out - ‘Shh the Musical’ played to a full house on its 3rd night of an all too short run at the Fringe.
This is a musical where you warm to the right characters and share the loathing of the ones that you are supposed to hate. It has a mixture of good music and snappy dialogue and has a lot to get through in 75 minutes.
The venue has the audience on three sides and while the players cope with this really well, occasionally audience sight lines were compromised so get down early and get a face on seat.
The show is at its best in the numbers when the cast combine and I am sure after a few listens these songs have potential to stick in your head. The plot is based on a group of friends who have been hanging out in a failing bookshop for years and the return to town of the sister of the girlfriend of the bookshop owner which triggers the events that unfold.
There are eight characters to get to know and while that seems a lot at first they soon fall into place as they each have an interesting nuance.
Lisa Leonard as Charlotte, the returning sister is equally at ease with the poignant solos and with group numbers. Calum Booth as the likeable but ineffective bookshop owner Evan, dominated by his girlfriend Cat immediately establishes his character evoking the sympathy card from the start. The ‘villains’ of the piece Russell and Cat are ably played by Steven Hamer and Lauren Hart. If it had been pantomime the audience would have been heckling them!
The other friends consisted of Zoë, (Susie Whyte) the troubled assistant, married couple Emma and Andy (Nina Cradock and Craig Sandison) and the gay friend, Robyn played for laughs in over the top fashion by Joe Whiteman.
While these characters may strike a memory or two from other shows that does not detract from the overall excellence of the production. The cast are equally at home whether singing, supported by a good and unobtrusive band or delivering one-lines of caustic but funny gossip.
At first I thought that the show had peaked too early finishing with a quiet number but there is an ending that brought an audible gasp of appreciation from the audience. Last year ‘Freshers’ won awards maybe this year ‘Shh’ will be in the running for a well-deserved honour.
Runs to Saturday 13th @20.10 hours
Ticket £7 and concessions: £6