AnimAlphabet the Musical
- Thom Dibdin
- 14 August 2017
Potentially brilliant kids musical is undone by a thoughtless production
There are great songs and a pretty decent basic concept to AnimAlphabet the Musical – and Hit the Mark Theatre has a pretty talented bunch of singers with which to deliver it.
On Treble Clef Island, the dreaded Dastardly Duck breaks free from his prison behind the treble clef, wreaks havoc between the Metro Gnome and the singing animals, then starts stealing all their notes. From Alligator's A to Frog's F, the animals could end up silent unless Cockatoo can save the day.
There are a memorable bunch of tunes by Sam Swallow and Alan Sharland in different styles to reflect the animal's characters, so this could be a jolly introduction to basic music theory and genres of music. And in cast members Rebecca Ayres, Brad Clapson and Ishia Osborne the company has three very talented singers.
Except that director and writer Mark Hooper has his head somewhere other than a show for children. His book is so peremptory as to be risible; his continuity so non-existent that even grown-ups will notice, let alone sharp-eyed youngsters. His kiss off, based on a theft, is morally obnoxious.
There could be space in the hour to make this work, even if Hooper's direction was less dire, but he decides to give the songs such prominence you would think it was written as a vehicle for the singers' egos. And the songs, while strong, don't serve the plot.
As for making the baddie a duck, that will always lead to floods of tiny tears. Self-aggrandising tosh.
Pleasance Dome, until 28 Aug (not 21), 10.30am, £7.50–£10 (£6.50–£9).