Review: GUY: A New Musical

4 star rating
A strong, entertaining cast deliver engaging performances in a musical with an obvious moral to convey, but which examines an important issue with humour and sensitivity.
GUY: A New Musical at King's Head Theatre

Image: leoe&hyde



Closes here: Saturday 1 September 2018

Author:
Leoe Mercer

Composer:
Stephen Hyde

Lyricist:
Leoe Mercer

Director:
Leoe Mercer

Cast:

Brendan Matthew - Guy

Seann Miley Moore - Aziz / Chrous 1

Steve Banks - Tyler / Chorus 2

Adam Braidley - Joe / Dom


Synopsis


Guy is a fat, gay millennial looking for love …


Guy is equal parts brilliant and shy …


Guy feels like he doesn't fit in to the gay community.


When a rejection on Grindr pushes Guy to make terrible life choices, he is forced to confront his inner demons, all the while pushing away everyone close to him.


A journey through bingeing, gyming, prejudice, hook ups, beauty standards, and (spoiler alert) stolen identity, GUY reminds you that the only person you can be is yourself.


With 12 heart pounding electronic pop anthems, GUY is the story of millennial love that will leave you proud, empowered, and a little bit in love; there's a little bit of GUY in everyone.


Background


Starring Brendan Matthew alongside X Factor finalist Seann Miley Moore, GUY is an award winning electronic musical about romance, rejection, and self love within the gay community.



ActDrop reviews


Peter Brown

Performance date: Friday 31 August 2018
Review star rating image for 3 stars

With some shows, you can almost sense a moral heading your way within a moment or two of curtain up - and occasionally even sooner!


Here, the looming moral is glaringly clear - be yourself and not someone you think you'd like to be.


Now that's really not giving too much away because the moral of this urban tale, which conducts its action mostly via the technological wizardry of the ubiquitous mobile phone and its all-pervading social media apps, pretty-much telegraphs its essential point from the off.


There's actually nothing wrong with that, though it leaves the element of surprise left out in the cold.


But the moral is a strong and important one in times when body image drives people to have all manner of risky cosmetic surgery and to adopt lifestyles which might end-up doing them considerable harm in terms of their health.


And, to be fair, there's quite a bit more in this musical search for love than just the central moral concept.

GUY: A New Musical at the King's Head Theatre

Cast of Guy - photo (c) www.toriabrightside

A while ago, a critic got a roasting on social media when he (inadvertently?) commented on an actor's physical appearance, so I'm treading cautiously here even if the matter in hand in this new musical is plain for all to see, and the synopsis hardly pulls any punches.


Guy is an inventive and gay graphic designer who's looking for love - but finds it hard to latch-on to the man of his dreams even with the ever-ready assistance of Grindr, self-styled as "the world's largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans, and queer people".


Guy is trapped in a psychological cycle - because he has no-one to love and love him, he eats with inevitable consequences which make him feel even worse.


In desperation, he tries to win some admirers by devious means, falling foul of his flatmate along the way and providing an element of drama and tension.


There's also quite a bit of humour - but it strangely takes a while for it to appear.


That seems a little odd given that gay humour can be raucously and pointedly funny and I sensed that the audience were expecting it, in spite of the central character's predicament and the rather brutal reactions he finds when contacting potential mates.


The humour picks up - as does the whole venture in fact - towards the end of the first half, with the packed house audibly warming to the characters, their predicaments and antics.


Simple black drapes adorn the stage, so there's no real set as such - which lends the feel of a concert version to the 2 hour-long show and puts the focus firmly on the cast.


And they don't disappoint.


On the contrary, they're a highly talented bunch who can handle all the basic elements of the genre with ease, and the performances are engaging throughout.


Unlike his character, Brendan Matthew clearly has no issues with his body image, yet manages to sensitively describe a man who does.


Seann Miley-Moore has an almost hypnotic stage presence as Aziz and both Adam Braidley and Steve Banks provide excellent support with neatly-defined characterisations.


The songs, with electronic backing and admirably sung, are a bit of a mixed bag - some drew reserved applause early on, but other more melodic and bluesy numbers found warmer appreciation, especially in the latter stages.


Though the main message here is hardly novel, it's a significant one given the context, even if those suffering from the anxieties of low self-esteem might not so readily agree that the solution to their social problems lies within themselves.


But there's more than that central message in this musical and more than enough in terms of entertainment value to warrant a visit.



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