How to Use a Washing Machine (3 stars)

This article is from 2019

How to Use a Washing Machine

A heart-warming but not toe-tapping musical

The story begins with a very relatable scene. Both Cass and James (sister and brother) are experiencing painful train delays. They lament the British rail system in perfect harmony and humor. It's a strong start but for the fact James' voice struggles to compete with the volume of the very talented string quartet behind him.

Both siblings are returning to their family home for the last time to pack up their childhood belongings. It forces them to examine how their adult lives compare with their childhood dreams. A rather millennial problem, where great expectations and too much choice lead to disappointment in adult life; this is a modern musical.

Both singers have strong voices and the acting is convincing: what lets this performance down a little is the script. Issues are explained and then re-explained, and many of the songs are essentially about the same thing. And while it's maybe just a question of taste, the Sondheim -esque lyrics and tunes fail to provide much variation/interlude from the dialogue.

Nevertheless, a heartwarming tale, acted and sung well. There's plenty of relatable material here, which makes for good laughs, and some poignant moments too.

ZOO Southside, until 26 Aug (not 21), 12am, £10 (£8).

How to Use a Washing Machine

  • 3 stars

SLAM Theatre Growing up is hard. Learning to use a washing machine is harder. This original musical, featuring a live string quartet, follows Cass and James – siblings called back to their childhood home to pack up for one last time. As they box up their old lives, tensions rise and they must confront themselves and…

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