Ruby and the Vinyl
Bright Hull-based new musical
Ruby and the Vinyl encompasses two places both currently enjoying a resurgence in popularity: vintage vinyl shops and the city of Kingston-Upon-Hull. It is in acoustic guitar wielding balladeer Ruby's (Ruby Macintosh) eponymous vintage store that a chance meeting between two students leads to a whimsical tale of young love and TV box sets.
The production by The John Godber Company pairs legendary writer John Godber with daughter Elizabeth. In classic Godber style, the script contains plenty of true-to-life dialogue and a handful of pithy chuckles between the bright, foot-tapping musical numbers. The music of composer Ruby Macintosh glistens with poppy acoustic guitar work, soaring vocals and percussive guitar drumming and showcases strong singing voices from all three performers.
Flannel-shirted slacker Tom (Jake Marsden) and bowler-hatted Lily (Grace Christiansen) are the star-crossed thrifty television-addicts: Netflix becomes a coping mechanism for the pair against an unsatisfying world. A tone of youthful earnest awkwardness dominates the piece from their initial meeting to the subsequent year of their lives depicted in the play, leaving little room for much development of the characters, their conversations, or even their feelings.
This difficulty further compounds itself in performances that are initially charming, but struggle to move beyond the whimsical. Its cheerily retro-inspired soundtrack make Ruby and the Vinyl worth a watch, but as for the drama, it may be a little too slight to be truly impactful.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 28 Aug, 7:10pm, £9–£10.50 (£8–£9.50).