No You Can’t – Recording Review

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If you have been following Cardiff based news for a little while now you will be aware of the current increase in the number of girls who are being spiked while on a night out. We at Rhys Reviews obviously condone any person who takes it upon themselves to put something in anyone’s drink as not only is this dangerous to the victim but also illegal! The issue has gotten so prevalent and now people are going about injecting their potential victims with extremely harmful substances! The nightclubs in my local area have been doing everything they can to try and eradicate these horrible actions including searching everyone upon entry, anti-spike lids, introducing new rules regarding drinks being left aside as well as educating people on how to identify a drink that has been tampered with. However to begin with there was a big focus on how people can stop themselves from being spiked but staying with their group, not putting drinks down and while these are very useful pieces of advice, it just seems to suggest that it’s the victims’ fault for not looking after themselves correctly whereas the blame should be with the person spiking drinks. There is this weeks musical “No, you can’t” that, whilst not directly about spiking, talks about this idea of the awful concept of victim shaming where a chorus of women sing “We will wear what we want” and how the focus instead should be to “tell men not to rape.” This is why the tag line of the new musical recording of “No, You Can’t” is “Changing how media speak out about women, sexual assault and rape” which is important right now more than ever!

This brand new musical comes from the wonderful Scott Weinstein who wrote this musical at just fourteen years old from the comfort of his bedroom. It is always incredible to see the next generate of musical creatives showcasing their work and Scott has managed to create a fully-fledged album (consisting of sixteen original songs) which is incredible. I can’t quite remember what I was doing at age fourteen but I know for a fact it wasn’t creating a powerful piece of protest theatre that aims to completely change the way we view these very important issues! The story follows Bethany Daniels who is a teenage American girl who is extremely passionate about striving for equality across the sexes (which we all should!) but gets caught up in a lie that could potentially destroy everything she had worked so hard for. It follows Bethany as she deals with being a sexual assault victim and how this can affect her everyday life. She will do anything she can to get her voice heard but this one lie she tells threatens to derail her whole campaign. While this can seem like a bit of an exaggeration I do think that it did make the character of Bethany a lot more relatable and realistic. We all have things in life that we are passionate about and we may do good things or protest for important issues but we are guaranteed to make some bad decisions throughout our lives and depending on when these occur can hinder whatever we are trying to peruse. Having this lead character fight so strongly for women’s equality but is flawed helps people to relate to her as like them she makes mistakes every so often!

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The opening number “changing the world” is a very empowering and uplifting song that perfectly sets up our main character. As you would suggest from the title, this song has a central idea of changing the way things are currently done which again plays on the tag line discussed earlier. We are introduced to Bethany and her drive to fight the current representation of women which helps the audience to instantly join in with the cause from the opening moment which is very important! The song “Scars” was beautifully performed by our lead performing and I imagine when performed lived would have the majority of the audience deep in their feelings. This number talks about the idea of getting over things that have happened in the past that will never truly disappear. This again is a very relatable moment in the show as everyone had their own “scars” that they have to deal with every day and have to try to work through whatever these issues/events are. Cleverly this song repeats later in the show during “My damn Scars” which a much more intense and powerful version of the earlier song that deals with the same ideas.

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One of my favourite numbers in the entire show would have to be “Best, just friends” which was a fabulous duet about one overbearing and one just kind friend who discuss how close they are. This is a comedic, high energy number that to me gives off very “you and me, but mostly me” (from the Book Of Mormon) vibes and I assume that on the stage this track has wonderfully fun physical comedy that plays up the contrast between the two characters involved. My other favourite number in this musical is a complete contrast to this fun, energetic and comedic number. “No means No” is an insanely powerful and important song that talks about many of the horrible things that women have to experience. The musical accompaniment is stripped back so that the focus of the listeners is strictly on the message behind this number which was a very clever inclusion! This song includes incredible lyrics such as directly telling the audience “come on tell your story”, which highlights how ridiculously common these sorts of things are, and “We won’t be left in the shadows anymore.” The song is so emotionally powerful, relatable to a lot of listeners and wonderfully performed making it one of the most important songs that I have had the honour to listen to in a very long time!

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Overall, this may be very early stages for “No, You Can’t” but it is clear that this is a show to watch out for in the near future! It has a very focus on changing the real-world media representation of women that and has come at a time when it is needed most. It follows a young woman and is written by a young theatre creative (who based on this show is destined for great things!) and so has a great underlying theme of the power that the next generation can possess. I would rate this new musical recording 4 out of 5 stars and would encourage anyone who is not aware of the tribulations that (mostly) women face to listen to this wonderful new musical!

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