A little while ago I review the short movie musical titled “Quarantine the musical” available at (https://rhysreviews.com/2020/09/03/quarantine-the-musical/) with was a comedic look into the current global lockdown. While it was super fun and entertaining, many people would have found this almost parody musical as not offering an honest perspective of dealing with the situation (which I never promised to but we all know what the internet people are like.) We now have the cast recording of the musical “Breathe” which delves into the more serious and severe consequence that people have been facing for just over a year now with both this show and Quarantine the movie work together to give a complete picture of how a range of people have been coping with everything that has gone on with the global situation. Obviously from this short preamble, you would understand that this is a modern musical that is set within the current covid 19 lockdowns which instantly makes it incredibly relatable to the majority of people around the world.
This recording (available on Spotify) came from the duo of Playwright Timothy Allen McDonald and Jodi Picoult with this being the laters first-ever theatrical project. If this is project is anything to go by, I think that this won’t (and shouldn’t) be Jodi only ever step into the theatre world as I enjoyed the more honest and real portrayal of an experience we as people of Earth have all experienced in one way or another. The show follows the lives of five different couples and documents the real issues they face while being ordered to stay at home. The documents the hardships of forced cohabitation on couples, starting a family in these unprecedented times and upsettingly high sense of loss many people have experienced. The actual opening of the show is very peaceful which fits with the name “breathe” of the entire show. I have also just thought while writing this review, that the show “breathe” talks about the consequences of a respiratory virus which shows they had thought about the audience coherence which just adds to the listening experience!
The first proper song in this musical tells the story of a character waking up in someone else bed after a night of heavy drinking and dealing with a hangover the next day. “What’d you do this time” was performed by Denee Benton which is insanely character-driven but manages to portray the comedic undertones of this song. Denee is a very talented performer as the vocals in this song were incredible! I also really enjoyed the song titled “You chose me” which is a super uplifting and catchy song performed by Denee and Rubèn J Carabjal as they deal with being forced to quarantine together despite originally it only being a one night stand. My favourite song throughout the whole musical had to be “not finished yet” which a cheesy song crammed full of energy. Max Clayton performed this song super well and the image of performed live will feel everyone up with a sense of excitement. I also imagine that this number is performed in a domestic setting with Max flipping and flying around the room with super-fun choreography! The song talks about how we can transform ingredients into something much more enjoyable which stands as a metaphor for using the current global situations and using it to improve our lives where possible. Max and Matt Doyle play gay characters within this show whose purpose is so much more than just a coming-out story as LGBT+ people are so much more than just coming out stories. These two performers have great chemistry both on and off stage which can be witnessed even through a recording.
This is absolutely a show of two halves with the first few songs focussing on fun and energy but the later section of the recording is much more serious and impactful. The song “The Lucky Ones” talks about how difficult our lives are right now there are people who are experienced things that are one hundred times worse. It is important to remember that despite it is frustrating to stay at home, at least we have our health and family etc. One of the most emotional songs in the show is “Goodbye” which was flawlessly performed by Kelli O’Hara. This show talks about hosting a virtual funeral which is the terrible reality that many people are currently living through.
Overall, this recording is an honest and real reflection of the current global lockdown without any need to sugarcoat what is going on. The songs are flawlessly performed with the inclusion of many key themes such as LGBT representation and Losing loved ones which are important now more than ever. I would rate this recording 5 out of 5 stars and would recommend it to everyone (as we have all experienced the effects of lockdown to some extent) and can purchase tickets from BreatheMusical.com until the 2nd July!