Last year, Laurence Owen nabbed the Malcolm Hardee Award for Cinemusical, his one-man musical pastiche of pretty much every Hollywood genre going.
Star rating: ***
Venue: Voodoo Rooms (Venue 68)
He is back with a follow-up pegged to one specific genre – the high school movie – and if the field is more limited, it still makes for a funny and inventive hour.
Owen cuts a preppy, effervescent figure as he sets up a situation familiar to anyone who’s seen The Breakfast Club, with five students stuck in Saturday detention. In a cleverly progressive anti-conformist narrative, he plays all the roles – jock, princess, nerd, slut and weirdo – and sketches out the students’ characters via spot-on self-composed songs played on backing tracks.
There’s an impressive range of musical styles, from militaristic bombast to bluesy jazz via 80s-style guitar rock, realised in sophisticated and catchy arrangements with witty and punchy (if occasionally verbose) lyrics.
Sticking so closely to this template does limit the show’s satirical reach and there’s almost no visual interest: Owen’s jeans-and-hoodie outfit is adaptable to multiple characters but hardly eye-catching and there’s no set.
A very enjoyable show, then, and one that almost feels like a terrific radio production waiting to happen.
Until 28 August. Today 1:45pm.