While the mismatched group of people on stage significantly outnumber the two of us in the audience, this only adds to the (deliberately) outlandish mood of George Griggs and Paul Andrew Perez’s quirky new musical.
Geek, C venues – C aquila (Venue 21) ***
Set in the US Bible Belt, in a place called Hopeless Junction, the show follows a teenager, Gibby, played by Olivia Tebsherany, whose bad skin leads her to be condemned as “possessed by Satan” and treated like a female Elephant Man.
However, when Gibby dons a mask that literally allows her spots to shine, her story also starts to have something in common with the Phantom of the Opera – not least because Tebsherany has a beautiful voice, which, along with the on-stage band, makes for toe-tapping tunes out from tales of not fitting in.
While the production, by Boston-based youth company Infinity Rep, often has a defiant disregard for professional polish or props, it’s fuelled by wild imagination and good-humoured asides.
A rather sudden ending – with rousing finale – glosses over a deeper exploration of the issues set up by a young woman defined solely by her skin. But as the unusual ensemble frantically pack up their set, before disappearing back into the dark, it’s a reminder of how a low-fi aesthetic needn’t limit large-scale ambition.
• Until 18 August, 7:05pm