After years of thinking I was not a lover of musicals, it appears old salty dogs can learn new tricks. Apparently I enjoy people breaking out into song as much as the general populous.
Squabbalogic always please with their quirky selection of musical fare. ‘Triassic Parq’ is probably one of their riskier choices- consider Jurassic Park told from the point of view of the dinosaurs as they deal with their transgender issues. Great concept, although Marshall Pailet’s music with his book, co-written by Bryce Norbitz and Steve Wargo feels undercooked. Still, director Jay James Moody’s fine eye for detail and Neil Shotter’s excellent set design of electric fences and lush greenery, all as movable as gender in this dinosaur world gives as good as this musical can get.
The cast are a funky conglomerate of talent. Blake Erickson’s Morgan Freeman and Velociraptor of Faith are as diverse as they are delicious and Erickson is outstanding in both roles. Rob Johnson, Adele Parkinson, Monique Salle, Keira Daley and Crystal Hegedis also shine. There is joy on stage in this cheeky show and it is contagious. As mentioned before- the story can be a little clunky and it feels like it is waiting for an ending but the cast deliver with passion.
Kudos to Squabbalogic for tackling every project with the tiniest budget and turning it into something spectacular.
And whilst I’m on small things that deliver great rewards, Keira Daley’s ‘Slapdash Song Night’ that plays at Gingers (upstairs at the Oxford Hotel) on the first Friday of every month is well worth the effort. It’s a live show and podcast that combines musical comedy, cabaret, musical theatre, guest artists and possibly my favourite segments- Slapdash Song Battle, where two artists write an original song on the same theme and battle it out and Cover Me Bro- a song chosen by the audience to be brought back to life again on the Slapdash stage.
On the night we were there, Jim Fishwick, ukulele in hand, and Courtney Powell with accompanying band battled it out for the tie and Keira Daley and Blake Erickson performed the heartwarming country duet, ‘You’re the reason our children and ugly’. Enough said.
What I most liked about the night was that it offered variety, comedy, sometimes poignancy and the most comfortable interaction you could hope for should you be an audience member petrified of group participation.
So get out this July and see either or both of these shows to bring some much needed comedy warmth to your winter.