Snakes! the Musical**** (Leicester Square Theatre)

Posted: September 28, 2014 in Theatre

snakes the musicalThis review was originally written for The Public Reviews:

Slithering into town after its success at the last two Edinburgh Fringe Festivals, this spoof of musicals and aeroplane disaster movies is now, geographically at least, only a mile away from its dream destination – the London Palladium. These “previews” are being presented by the show’s creator, Thom (Thom Sellwood), with the aim of persuading audiences of theatre angels to invest in his ambitious project – a spectacular musical about snakes attacking a plane in flight. Budgetary constrictions mean that just two performers, Will (Will Guppy) and Marina (Marina Waters) have to play all the roles and that no live reptiles can be used (phew! what a relief). The whole concept may once have seemed absurd, but, at a time when a musical about lavatories is opening on Shaftesbury Avenue, perhaps it might just work. The show takes non-venomous bites at the two genres that it is satirising, offering a mixture of good jokes and catchy tunes. With titles such as “Flying to Our Dreams”, “This is My Chance” and “All Time High”, lovers of musical theatre will recognise the songs almost before the first notes are struck and also recognise the shows to which sly references are being made. Another musical may have featured a barricade, but not in the first class cabin of a plane. There are undercurrents of tensions between the three on stage, who seem to be involved in some unfathomable love triangle. Thom tactlessly tells Marina that the female lead is intended for Sheridan Smith and that she will be relegated to the chorus. Will has better prospects, because, although the hero will be played by a Samuel L Jackson type, he will be cast as a flight attendant; unfortunately, as that character is gay and Will, obviously and most definitely isn’t, he is also piqued. The important thing about this show is that everyone involved with it seems to be having an enormous amount of fun, which means that we, the potential backers, have fun too. A rattling good 70 minutes.

Performance date: 27 September 2014

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