Sussex Playwrights Reviews
2 Dumb the Musical
Roedean Theatre, Brighton
This is the first ever performance of this show. Roedean Theatre hosts a five performance weekend of this new rock musical by Tim Newman and Stuart Brayson, featuring an assured and accomplished lead cast, great voices and songwriting and superb support from the live band and the Brighton Academy’s 120-strong chorus.
Denver James is both a rock star, and a charismatic leader of the young. He’s come to the PM’s attention – and as he gathers his people, a great conspiracy unfolds.
Laced with glimpses of characters’ private life and the past, with strong echoes of Jesus Christ Superstar, this tale of a silenced youth movement that’s found its voice feels so now, with Extinction Rebellion and climate change school strikes front page news.
For a show of this quality and scale with rightly ambitious plans to transfer and tour, this intensive weekend tryout is a great opportunity to polish a gem.
It’s wordy, the writing at times resembles a lecture, with characters rapidly declaiming manifestos and political opinions, and as a result is long (there is an interval, and a bar) and would benefit from an edit.
The technical element is terrific, using the venue’s resources to the max. This is no school hall; Roedean’s fully equipped theatre has the wow factor, with huge scope for very big shows. Brighton fringe must surely envy the Roedean students for this terrific asset.
The few first night technical glitches can be addressed – the sound mix on the night lost some of the lyrics and occasionally dancers and spot lights didn’t quite meet.
But we’re left with a lasting impression of a show with fantastic energy, the quality of lead performers’ singing, fabulous exhilarating ensemble singing, dancing and sheer exuberant presence are a joy. The enormous almost entirely female supporting cast often surround the audience, using every inch of the stage, aisles and upper tiers. We felt completely part of the whole experience, the finale enclosing us in a wall of sound and firefly-like torchlight.
Highly recommended, and it will be fascinating to see where 2 Dumb the Musical goes next.
The show contains strobe light and audience floodlighting effects.
Carparking on site and it’s the Roedean School stop on the 27 bus route.
October 25/26/27 3.00 pm & 7.30pm