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A review by Vanessa Bunn for EXTRA! EXTRA!




A Stage Kindly presents


Slay it with Music



Book and Lyrics by Michael Colby


Music by Paul Katz


Directed by Joseph C Walsh


Greenwich Playhouse


9 August – 4 September 2011


Red velvet curtains and upholstery, dark furniture, dim lighting and a staircase leading nowhere provide the opening impressions of this production of Slay it with Music, directed and choreographed by Joseph C Walsh. So begins the tale of a washed up actress, Enid Beaucoup (Andrea Miller), clutching at straws of the Slasher Movie kind for a big comeback that seems ill fated from the off. Deemed a precarious venture by her adoring butler Zachary (Sofoklis Kostoulas) and her recently arrived sister, famous daytime soapstar Marcy Beaumont (Ellen Verenieks), the film never really comes off and it is a constant source of deflation for the already lagging Enid.

The action flits between scenes from Enid's home, a group of movie tourists who eventually stumble into the action at the home and some flashbacks to Enid and Marcy's childhood and tumultuous teenage years when a love rift over their hair-dresser ended in grave circumstances. The flashbacks are immensely tongue in cheek, complete with a fade out last line from the ghost of their father, Marcel Beaucoup (Nick Whitfield).

An impressive supporting cast belt out some catchy numbers; the score is melodic and smooth, and at times, oddly upbeat, with Noam Galperin providing accompaniment on keys in the darkest corner of the theatre. Kimberly Blake and Hayley Sheldon are notable in their portrayals of a young Enid and Marcy, and shine in a rendition of “Anything” alongside their grown up counterparts. The lighting, designed by Marie Kearney, is an effective tool in creating an air of suspense and intrigue where required and innovative use of torches is notable. Sofoklis Kostoulas is excellent as Zachary the butler, perhaps the character with the most depth in the show. His performance is solemn and consistent. Some of the costumes are well chosen too. Enid's costumes in particular portraying the aura of a 40's movie star with Zachary being equally well turned out.

The script, though flat in places, is not without wit and there is some heavy wordplay and comically farcical scenarios; it is the least self-conscious of these that prove most effective. We hear that when Enid and Marcy's father shot himself, their mother was unlucky enough to be standing right behind him. It is unfortunate that this kind of subversive humour is not employed more strenuously, but the cast make real efforts with the material provided and use the kitsch, bouncing, largely feeble plot and script, to best possible effect through enthusiasm and some wonderful vocal performances.

The dances and all ensemble scenes are excellently choreographed. Clean and collected in their execution, they are the most enthralling parts of the production. The choreography, perhaps inadvertently, provides some continuity where the plot fails to do so. There is a unity of movement at every mention of “Chop Chop”, Enid's comeback movie, which proves quite consistent and entertaining. Marcy's unlikely incarceration in her sister's house of horrors paves the way for an emotive and impressive vocal performance and cements Ellen Verenieks' position as a star of the show. The creepy girl next door, Jill (Charlotte Stevenson), is also a thread that binds the action as she weaves through the scenes with her balloon, camera and secrets.

Slay it with Music is more of a faux melodrama than a substantial horror-musical but is capable of providing some light entertainment thanks to a resilient cast and splendid choreography.

Box Office: 0208 858 9256
Greenwich Playhouse
Greenwich Station Forecourt, 189 Greenwich High Road, London, SE10 8JA
Tickets: £13/£10

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