Many of my reviews start with me talking about demolishing the idea of musical theatre being cheesy and over the top. While there are many productions that are insanely fun and camp with big productions numbers but there are many shows that focus on more serious and real-life issues. In my most product review of Astraea Wax (available at https://rhysreviews.com/2021/05/01/astraea-wax-melts-review/) I talked about how I believe we are living in one of the most stressful times in recent history and gives suggestions as to how I deal with these situations that emotionally draining/overwhelming. While these ideas do help calm me down it is important to remember that these aren’t magic fix-all solutions for all your mental health experiences and so we have waited for the longest time to see a show that portrays an honest and real portrayal of anxiety/depression. ‘Everything is absolutely fine’ is a musical that gives anxiety an actual voice to the mental health condition and how it manifests itself in everyday situations.
The actual story of ‘Everything is absolutely fine’ follows the life of Alice (played by Alice Keedwell) as she gets used to life in a new area with a brand new job while dealing with anxious and depressive thoughts. The talented Harry Blake plays the role of anxiety who serves as an almost narrator of the show but also plays the piano through and wrote the lyrics and music to show throughout the production which shows an insane amount of talent and musical ability. The inclusion of this mental health character is a fantastic concept for both representations of those who are stuffing with these conditions but also helps to raise awareness and educate those who are not too familiar with these conditions. I have been secretly planning on writing a play/show for the longest time where Anxiety is given a physical portrayal but it appears that the team behind ‘Everything is okay’ were quicker off the mark than I was (and in all honesty did it much better than I could have ever been able to!) The show discusses how suffering from mental health is a lot more common than people believe and stresses the importance of reaching out when you need help. The other incredible thing about this theme was that by the end of the show it wasn’t as if Alice is magically healed but instead is an ongoing issue that will she will be suffering for a long, long time.
Shockingly in this show, there is only a two-person cast with no set or props (with only one, I believe, costume change through the whole show) however, the two performers manage to keep the audiences attention throughout without any scenes seeming odd despite involving imagery characters which show an insanely high level of performing ability which I don’t think I could ever do. The entire stream of this show was 1 hour and a half but the actual show did not start until about half an hour in which I did think was somewhat strange but when the show did start, I loved the opening. The show started in a blackout with an alarm ringing and being ignored (which to be honest is how most of my mornings start!) My only issue with this scene was the singular moans that were supposed to signify the character being frustrated with the alarm but in my opinion, was way too short to be effective. The team working on this project followed this up with an emotional monologue that described common symptoms of anxiety and believing that everyone hates you. This would be so relatable to those who are experiencing this mental condition and was very emotional! I also really loved the opening number of this musical which had the titular name of “everything is absolutely fine” which played in the classic cheesy Broadway-inspired musical numbers that I discussed earlier which was complete with hilarious hard stares down the camera similar to the trope used in Miranda.
Overall this is a show great for a more mature audience due to the discussion around mental health, alcohol used/references but also the frequent strong language. The two-person cast is insanely talented and manages to keep the audience’s attention throughout without the need for choreography, props or even staging. I would rate this musical 4 out of 5 stars and would recommend it to those who are interested in more honest and real depictions of real-life issues through the medium of musical theatre!