We've Got Each Other (5 stars)

This article is from 2018

We've Got Each Other

credit: Simon K Allen

A one-man comedy-theatre show about an imagined Jon Bon Jovi musical

In We've Got Each Other, Paul O'Donnell narrates the epic Bon Jovi musical he was unable to set up for budget reasons. His alternative is to sit on a chair, on an empty stage, and read acting directions and describe dance numbers straight to the audience, in this memorable piece of comedy-metatheatre.

Through simple but compelling narration, O'Donnell builds a whole universe around former docker Tommy and Spanish waitress Gina, who fall in love in an East Manhattan diner. Along the way, he humorously highlights the over-the-top stereotypes of musicals, from Gina's mother dying of chronic illness, to the expected narrative obstacle in the shape of Gina's ex-lover and his menacing friends. There are the occasional light effects, and a soundtrack of low-budget covers of Livin' on a Prayer.

The success of the show relies on its excellent writing and seamless blend of comedy and storytelling. He effectively deconstructs musical theatre by asking the audience to picture contrived group scenes, and describing how sets and lighting are used to convey the desired emotional tension of a dramatic scene.

O'Donnell's delivery and comic timing are superb throughout, and his enthusiasm for this stock musical is as entertaining as it is contagious. He occasional acts out group duels reminiscent of West Side Story, relying on a pretend-Spanish of "quesadilla tequila Eva Longoria!"; his narration even extends to describing the behaviour of audience members during the interval. In doing so, he succeeds in celebrating a genre that allows escape through suspension of disbelief, and provides a show that bridges comedy and a master class in theatre.

Pleasance Dome (Jack Dome), until 27 Aug, 10.50pm, £11 (£10).

We've Got Each Other

  • 5 stars

Paul O'Donnell narrates the all-singing, all-dancing Bon Jovi musical spectacular he'd create if he had the money.