Impressions: Departure Lounge

A group of sunburned lads await their delayed return flight in the departure lounge of Malaga airport.  After a drunken ‘Brits on tour’ style holiday that involved mainly (and I paraphrase) ‘booze, birds and….bonking’, the group of friends reflect on the weeks conquests.  With their memories drink-addled, a level of confusion strikes their recollections and they are forced to relive their experiences, with some psychological afflictions, through flashbacks involving holiday trophy, Sophie.  But within these memories there are secrets to be exhumed; will their friendships stand the test?  This is an exploration of friendship and adolescent discovery, breaking down the hard exterior of these British ‘hooligans’ to reveal the raw emotion inside.

Chris Fountain as JB, the testosterone-fueled well-off group leader, demonstrates his on-stage abilities with a, perhaps surprisingly, powerful and expressive voice.  Jack Shalloo as Pete is the wannabe alpha, least comfortable with his emotions and vulnerability, capturing the audience with his heart-tugging rendition of Picture Book.  Steven Webb as Ross is the quiet, sharp, runt of the group with a beautiful voice nevermore than in his near-showstopper Sophie.  Liam Tamne as the thoughtful Jordan has a huge voice, soaring through the score with great sensitivity where needed.  Finally, Verity Rushworth as slappa Sophie is the notorious good-time girl, played fantastically playfully with strong comic-timing and Essex-edged vocals.

This is a hilarious and refreshing piece with a strong style and memorable pop score.  Brash laddish humour, witty lyrics and the occasional purposefully cringe-worthy rhyme is balanced with emotional depth.  Pip Minnithorpe’s direction is smooth and fast paced and the numbers are choreographed superbly within the style by Cressida Carré.  Though the plot may have a few gaps and short comings, as a musical based within a single location, this is a great achievement in writing.  80 minutes of laugh-out-loud humour, it may not be one to take your gran to but this is a boyband-style musical with a bit of grit and is pure frivolous fun.

Departure Lounge: A musical by Dougal Irvine plays at the brand spanking new Waterloo East Theatre until 31st October 2010.

Copyright © theatreJunki 2010.

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