Showcasing their fourth production since lockdown, the Eagle pub presents Next Thing You Know, a youthful musical (all the cast are 2020 graduates), with the book by Ryan Cunningham, and music and lyrics by Joshua Salzman, writes Carolyn Hart Taylor…
Faced with the challenge of making life decisions, this cast of four twenty-somethings sing an eclectic range of songs throughout this musical, covering sizeable issues such as career choice and committing to relationships, to more frivolous matters like drinking, smoking and dating.
Providing a perfect environment for characters to explore their angst is the imaginative decision to base the musical around a New York cocktail bar that doubles up as an apartment and workspace. Complete with neon pink flamingos, palm plants, an inky black dance floor and iconic American imagery, this foursome repeat conversations taking place all over the city.
Waverley (Bessy Ewa), in keeping with her name, spends her time wavering. Pinning hopes on romantic commitment from boyfriend Darren, (Nathan Shaw) audiences witness this fledgling’s lack of self-belief and resignation to remain in the nest, forever working in the cocktail bar as she sings, ‘All I want is for it to stay this way’. Quite the opposite is sassy friend, nightclub singer Lisa (Amelia Atherton), imploring Waverley to seize her moment, singing beautifully to her, ‘It’s your time, I’m waiting for mine’.
Comedy moments are sprinkled around: laddish Luke (Callum Henderson) climbs the stairs with his latest conquest declaring, ‘If I’d known you live on the 5th floor, I’d have taken someone else home’. Later he clues up recently separated Darren as he sings sardonically of, ‘The best way to get a girl – is to get a girl’; and, ‘you’ve got to applaud this sick trick played by God’. Henderson really shines while singing a wonderful number about the grip cigarettes have.
Simple as this musical’s storyline is, it’s packed with superb lyrical numbers and sung with a quality and confidence you’d expect from more experienced performers. The cast shone, their varied personalities lending the play depth and interest.
A wonderful, entertaining night out.
Next Thing You Know is on at The Garden Theatre at The Eagle, 349 Kennington Lane, London SE11 5QY until Saturday 31 October. Time: Various. Admission: £20.00 + bkng fee