Musicals & opera: Paper Hearts the Musical

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There was a lot of love in the room for this new musical from Moon Rock Productions and it was easy to warm to the ten-strong cast’s ability to turn in a confident-but-not-cloying performance and co-exist harmoniously on a small stage.

Star rating: ***

Venue: Underbelly Med Quad (Venue 302)

All were spot-on singers and most multi-tasked on instruments, moving around like strolling minstrels and lending a natural dynamism to proceedings.

The story was cute enough but not spectacular. Aspiring writer Atticus Smith (first of a smattering of literary references) works in an independent bookstore valiantly holding out against The Man. In his spare time, he’s trying to finish his great Russian novel, whose characters oblige with lusty musical-within-a-musical interludes.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, there’s a sparky girl with whom to share lots of romantic misunderstandings, a writing competition to up the stakes and an adversary close to home to be vanquished through the medium of slick pop musical theatre numbers about battling bookworms and overcoming the odds. The ensemble juggle all these elements admirably without ever threatening anything special.

Until 29 August. Today 6:40pm.