A few years ago Mcdonals realised an advert in which two strangers got stuck in a lift. The more time they spent together the closer they got while sharing clothes, personal stories, games etc. As they experience this terrible situation together they get to know each other and start to build a very good relationship with each other. During a review of BitterSummer (available at https://rhysreviews.com/2021/07/12/bittersummer-recording-review/) I talked about how summer camps function is a sphere outside of space and time with people you’ve known for a few days instantly becoming some of our closest friends. While I’m not saying that the fun and excitement of a camp is anything like being stuck in an elevator but the idea is that the bonding experience is somehow accelerated in these sorts of share experiences. The punch line for this advert, however, is that despite becoming really close friends while both experiencing the same traumatic event, when a box of chicken selects are sent in they refuse to share with one another. This advert played on two of my biggest fears, sharing food and getting stuck in a lift with someone I don’t know. This advert has stuck with me so much that now every time I get into a lift with a stranger I spend the whole journey thinking about what would happen if the elevator breaks down (but I can tell you one thing … I definitely won’t be sharing my chicken selects regardless of who I’m in there with!) This is, apart from the inclusion of McDonald’s, the plot of the brand new musical “Stuck” which recently had its first-ever virtual premier!
The first thing I noticed about this exciting online event was how professionally it was structured. There was a combination of both a live, in-person audience but was also streamed so that people can enjoy this show from wherever they are in the world! The event started with a short introduction by the creator of the show Ben who informed the audience of what to expect from the show and the journey to get this new piece of theatre onto the stage. This introductory speech is important at any event but especially when showcasing a new show. While I personally have been following stuck on Instagram for a little while, they may be people who are not as familiar with the show as I am. The whole show was set up with the performers in a line on the stage where they performed their sections of the show with wonderfully stagey lighting and live music performed live. The entire show was so professionally done that even when minor mistakes were made the cast were able to flawlessly get back on track which shows how collectively talented these wonderful performers are. What is unique about this show is the fact that the characters within the story are aware that they are singing at random points within the narrative. Most commonly, Karissa breaks the fourth wall and discusses putting in a show directly to the audience which is unlike anything I have seen before. Musicals often get a bad rep for being ridiculously over-the-top and cheesy so having a show acknowledge the absurdity of breaking out into song was really interesting. Being able to capture this essence of carrying a show while also being aware of the audience is a very difficult thing to portray and so the performer behind this role deserves tremendous amounts of praise!
The show follows the life of Karrisa who is a blind woman who is trapped in an elevator with a collection of random strangers. Through her passion for physiology, she is able to offer counselling to the people in the lift to work through some of their issues. For example, there are two stereotypical lovers who are constantly quarrelling and their fighting leads to some rather interesting scenes. I really enjoyed the opening number of this brand new musical and thought it did everything that an opening number should do! I was able to imagine the hustle and bustle of the number with actors in total chaos and key scenes being spotlighted. The actor playing Corey in this show is clearly a very talented vocalist whose voice fits the genre of musical theatre perfectly. “Will anyone be there for me” which was performed by this character was very emotionally powerfully with some incredible vocals throughout. I also thought that the performer who took on the role of Tommy was very engaging and contained a wonderful amount of stage presence. He was extremely theatrical throughout with some hilarious over-the-top facial reactions which did inject some much-needed comedy at times. I could easily visualise the massive dance sequences during this character’s song and so cannot wait to see this role, in particular, being properly staged. One such number was “wigging out” which is all about this character having a mini-breakdown which is clearly a high energy number and would be a spectacle to see performed live! I also think that the entire cast/ensemble sounded amazing during this song when accompanying Tommy throughout the number.
Overall, as a first glimpse at the new musical this event did everything it needed to including creating a buzz around the show. I for one cannot wait to see the journey of getting this show fully staged and have no doubt that it won’t be long till we are seeing it! I would rate this show 4 out of 5 stars and recommend that people go and follow ‘Stuck: A new musical’ on Instagram to stay up to date with this wonderfully unique show!
All images provided by Gialuca_321