Reviewed By Carmel Shortall
The Trap’s Bad Musical sets out to be just that: a bad musical. The traditions of the musical, whether amateur, fringe or West End are ripe for parody and the three members of The Trap, Dan Mersh, Jeremy Limb and Paul Litchfield joyfully plumb the depths for clichés. Having produced the series of ‘Bad Plays’ at Edinburgh over the years, they are eminently qualified for the job.
The opening number proclaims, “life is a musical – it’s repetitious and bad”, before launching into a list of mundane activities that can and do justify bursting into song plus a list of excruciating puns for titles of famous musicals (Derek Acorah’s line for A Chorus Line, anybody?).
After this rousing number, we are introduced to our hero Johnny Everyman of Little Smalton, his dreams (cue ‘dreams’ motif – the first of many) and his stereotypically abusive ‘northern’ father and downtrodden mother (shades of Billy Elliot). ‘Father’ has no time for Johnny’s dreams but nevertheless he runs away to London and after a song and dance number where two Guys and Dolls gangsters explain the intricacies of the oystercard to him, Johnny ends up working in a bank. After having his duties explained to him to the tune (nearly) of Sweet Transvestite from Rocky Horror, Johnny manages to precipitate the banking crisis and the credit crunch all by himself.
The Trap clearly love all this stuff and the audience did too. Missed cues, never-ending intros, broken backing records and out-of-step dancing all add to the fun in this affectionate take on musical theatre.
Bad Musical finished its three night run at the Etcetera Theatre last night, Sunday, which was also the last night of The Camden Fringe 2010.