Theatre Review: Bare

Friday 18 October 2013 by

Bare, Musical, Theatre, Greenwich TheatreI’m on my knees. I’m begging you. Please go and see this production of Bare – The Rock Musical at the Greenwich Theatre.

Bare, whose story is as relevant and truthful now as it was when it premiered in Hollywood in 2000, is based around a group of classmates in their final year at a Catholic boarding school, and focuses on the relationship between Peter, who is coming to terms with his sexuality, and Jason, who is struggling to accept his. Surrounded by close friends and some colourful teachers, we are taken on a journey that can have you laughing and dancing in your seat one moment, to being utterly devastated and crying into your partner’s shoulder the next.

Directed by the phenomenal Paul Taylor-Mills, whose productions include Rent, My Big Gay Italian Wedding and The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas to name a few, this productions biggest asset is the truly first class company of actors.

Michael Vinsen’s portrayal of Peter is at times extraordinary. It seems the part was written specifically for him. Ross William-Wild as Jason, portrays his character’s tortured soul with heart-breaking reality. Taking us through the show, they deliver the devastating Bare, their final duet, showcasing their talents and complementing each other’s performance. Peter and Jason’s love is believable and truthful.

Jodie Steele as Ivy almost steals the second act with her solo performance of All Grown Up, her voice is extraordinary and fills every space of the theatre, ensuring the audience is hanging onto her every word. This very talented actress is going to be a big star.

It’s hard to believe this production marks Molly Stewart’s first professional role. Playing Nadia, she smoothly transitions between her comedic moments and dramatic scenes with a believability that makes her an audience favourite.

Claudia Kariuki has the audience eating out of the palm of her hand, her comic timing is perfection and her scene as the Diana Ross-inspired Virgin Mary brings the house down. Every member of the audience is invested in her performance, and she leaves us wanting more.  Her solo God Don’t Make No Trash resonates with the audience and leads to one of the biggest rounds of applause of the evening.

Other members of the company who deserve a mention here are Luke Baker, Gary Lee-Netley and Tash Holway who all use what little time they have to display extraordinary performance skills. Nadine Cox’s solo of Warning brought a tear to the eye of many, and forced me to break my ‘No Public Displays Of Emotion’ rule.

The choreography by Richard Jones is inspired and makes use of the stage and the actors’ ability brilliantly. The lighting by Tim Deiling is almost another character itself, adding so much to the performance, I’ve never heard so many people during an interval discussing the subject!

The production is not without its faults. During the performance I went to, there were some technical issues and missed cues with the microphones. The scenes very quickly change from comedy or large group numbers to more dramatic and intimate moments and I don’t think every transition is equally smooth.

With that being said, Paul Taylor-Mills and Kylie Vilcins have produced a phenomenal piece of theatre that captivates the audience, we invest and relate to these strong characters and become part of their journey. We laugh and rejoice with them, cry and grieve for them.

This is an important musical, performed by a first class company, produced by some of the best people working in theatre today. Its last run at the Union Theatre sold out in days. If you only see one more production this year, let it be this one. It will touch your soul.

5 Houses

Bare – The Rock Musical is on at the Greenwich theatre until Sunday 27th October 2013

Box Office: 020 8858 7755

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