People often slate musical theatre for being so ridiculously over-the-top which does not reflect real life at all. It’s often presented as cheesy and ubearingly optimistic which for many is not how they experience life and so there has been a call for a more honest and true representation with the musical genre and that’s exactly what ‘Plan Bea’ aims to do! It is called as a show that is all about navigating re ups and downs that life throws at you and encourages viewers to get through the rougher times and revel in the good time.
Beatrice (Bea for short) is an obsessive planner who gets into a real dark mindset and decides to clear up every element of her existence. The show flicks back and forth from modern-day to 1990s, as Beatrice encounters her friend who has an almost polar opposite view on navigating life. I found this story point very relatable as I, like Bea, enjoy plans and structure whereas many of my friends enjoy a more spontaneous experience of life which a constant point of contention when discussing Holliday, celebrations etc. The two friends in the musical reunite to rescue a cafe which is threatening with total closure if things do not turn around. What I love about this musical is that it does not provide magic, perfect narrative instead it shows how life in which I find refreshing in a weird sense. Instead of the classic optimistic view musicals often presents, Plan Bea provides a real and honest story which many people will relate to! The show is created by an all-female British creative team which helps bring a unique and powerful story and performance while being incredibly relatable to any person in the audience!
It is important to note that the songs for the concept album of Plan Bea are all in development and so they are not in their final form. Generally speaking, the songs are very pretty and ornate throughout while not creating a fake sense of positivity which shows a clever use of music from the creative team behind the project. “A greener day” is a very pretty and ornate song that is performed excellently by a chorus of wonderfully talented performances whose voices blend to create a fantastic treat on the ears! The song titled “Many parts to play” is a clear reference to the iconic William Shakespeare quote from his play As you like it. Shakespeare is a major influence for this show as many songs reference his work or includes lyrics from his work. Both the songs “What would Shakespeare say” and “To be or not to be” includes quotes from many of Shakespeare’s iconic plays and poems with the latter being an incredible song where the voices worked flawlessly together. The inclusion of lyrics from Shakespeare is very clever as it not only makes sense within the story (and fits with the ornate nature of many of the songs) but also builds on the fact that Shakespeare is a very famous British creator and Plan is also created by creative British talent which makes sense for a metaphysical standpoint.
The song “ticking all the boxes” discusses how people have an almost bucket list of things that they must complete by certain points in their life. It displays the anxieties and pressures people feel to reach certain points (such as marriage, having children, graduation etc) but a certain age otherwise they are not living life how they should. It is important to the song and general life that everyone realised that there is no time limit to achieve things by a certain point and that everyone’s lives are different so we should stop comparing ourselves to others and stop being unnecessary stress into our lives. My favourite song in this entire musical was the titular song “Plan Bea” which was an incredibly powerful song that balances a sense of empowerment but also fun to create a very interesting message. This was an energetic ensemble number that has a sense of character development and growth where the audience can help but feel strong while listening to this song. The song “More than us” is a comedic song that really contrasts the majority of the rest of the songs in the show which brought the focus on this song.
Overall this is a musical that offered a hyper-realistic perspective on life that discusses issues that many people will face throughout their lives. The songs are artfully performed with a general sense of beauty about them which make very easy to listen to and enjoy! I would rate this show 4.5 stars and I can guarantee that once this album has been fully developed it will be a show not to miss!