Phoenix (2 stars)

This article is from 2019


credit: Rosemary Rance

Trying to rock fatherhood

Phoenix is an ambitious one-man musical that embodies much of what makes the Fringe so great: a fun concept and a lot of hard work. Andy Gallo plays Ash Phoenix, a wannabe rock'n'roll star in the 1960s who is suddenly landed with the responsibilities of fatherhood when the love of his life becomes pregnant.

It's a charming – if not hugely original – narrative and Gallo carries it entirely on his shoulders, quick-changing between instruments and characters and telling what Ash himself admits is the most country music story ever told. The music – like the story – is familiar even before it's been played, but occasionally funny lyrics and catchy beats save it from becoming too repetitive.

The play's general lack of freshness is, however, compounded by the narrative perspective, which is inherently and inescapably myopic thanks to its one-man concept. There is a sense that the trials the absent girlfriend must endure are being told through the wrong voice, and when Ash spends a large part of the play bemoaning juggling children and career, it all feels a bit incredulous. At times likeable, funny and sweet, overall Phoenix doesn't quite hit the right note.

Pleasance Dome, until 26 Aug (not 13), 1.20pm, £11–£13 (£10–£12).


  • 2 stars

Richard Marsh, Jessica Sharman and Something for the Weekend The ultimate one-man band: guitarist, pianist, drummer… dad. A wannabe star unexpectedly becomes a father – and learns it's hard to make it big walking on Lego. This one-man musical comedy is played entirely live by virtuoso rocktopus Andy Gallo. From No. 1…