Both the worlds of being a professional artists and running an entertainment blog/review page often face the same challenges that small businesses all over the world have to combat such as building a dedicated following (which is the perfect time to remind everyone that we have recently been forced to create a new following on Facebook so if you have not already followed you can do so at https://www.facebook.com/RhysReviewsoffical), they both relay heavily in the ideas of creativity and expression and also are dependent on how frequently new work can be created! Both of the creative jobs rely on the premise of painting a picture (the form with paints and the latter with words), they both require a person to wear many metaphysical hats with creating/marketing/networking all being required sometimes simultaneously and both force the creators to constantly be working on something new in order to stay relevant! While we are talking about the demands of running a small business it is important to note that on the 3rd of December the UK will be celebrating the annual small businesses Saturday hosted by American Express! This year makes the tenth anniversary of the event where small businesses across the UK are put under a spotlight to help promote what they do best which can only have a positive effect in these behind businesses. If you are interested in taking part of this year’s event you can download a plethora of free materials from the website at https://smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com.
This brand new musical comes from the impressive kind of Charles Bloom who pulls triple duty while writing the book, music and lyrics of this show. As someone who is inexperienced with writing new musicals the thought of just writing the lyrics for a show seems very overwhelming on its own so I can’t even comprehend being responsible for pretty much all of the fundamental parts of any new musical which is very impressive! There seems to be a trend at the moment of new musicals that document the lives of some the world’s most famous artists! We have seen new pieces of musical theatre such as Starry (which tells the story of the wonderfully eccentric dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh which you can read about at https://rhysreviews.com/2020/05/10/starry-album-review/), Sunday in the park with George (which is based loosely on the life of French pointillist painter Georges Seurat) among others who shines a light on some the most famous artists and their contribution to the art world! As you would expect from this title, this latest musical ‘Pablo’ tells the story of arguably most well-known artists in the entire history of the world Pablo Picasso. For those who don’t know Picasso is a Spanish artist who spent the majority of his life in France and become famous for for co-founding the cubist movement and creating of extremely unique portraits. It documents Picasso’s journey from leaving Spain, leaving art school and gaining a dedicated following for his artwork!
The opening number of this album is “Barcelona (exercises)” which jumps right into the centre of an art class as our titular character is following instructions from a militant-style teacher. I can imagine this number being staged in such a way that every performer is sat and mechanically following the series of directions almost as if there they are a drill. This dictated way of creating art would have perfectly captured the reason Picasso would rebel against the educational institute leading to him being kicked out (despite in real life him choosing to drop out.) I do think that there is an important message in this narrative that the education system is not for everyone and there are numerous people who have dropped out of school and still became extremely successful such as Richard Branson, Alan Sugar, Mark Zuckerburg etc. In a recent review of the One person play Destiny (available at https://getthechance.wales/2022/10/09/review-destiny-florence-espeut-nickless-chapter-arts-centre-by-rhys-payne/?fbclid=IwAR18REVC0XN0wiql6FRp9aDypLVyIZAO_lZWoeNzpfUBWEn94yKLaaWMrfY) where I talked about the pressure that young people are under and so times school is not the correct place for some young learners! The song “I prefer to dream” was a beautiful song that was flawlessly performed by the solo vocalist that tells the story of her frustrating life with an unloving partner but despite this, she chooses to focus on the pretty things in life. This idea of people focussing on beauty as a coping mechanism is with traumatic experiences is an extremely common process that we have seen discussed on shows such as Ru Paul’s drag race!
As any almost complete polar opposite of this emotionally powerful and heart-wrenching number, the song “you need max” (which tells the story of the real-life intense friendship between Picasso and Max Jacobs.) This is a classic musical theatre song crammed full of comedic moments that I can just imagine the whimsical tap routines embedded when performed live. This would be an extremely fun number that was excellently performed by the vocalist on this track as well as having some sense of education as I was not previously aware of the connection between these two people! The most harrowing number in this musical however would have to be “They’ll be sorry” which is an intense song that discusses the pressure and angst of creatives leading to Picasso threatening to end his own life. While this is somewhat of an extreme reaction, it is important to be aware that small businesses are totally reliant on the support from their following and when things are a bit slow this can cause some very serious consequences. This extremely powerful message is then contradicted as this whole scene turns out to be an organised stunt to help promote his own career. I thoroughly enjoyed one of the final tracks on this recording “I’ll take it” which explores the euphoric feeling when business begins to pick up once again! This upbeat and exciting ensemble number again!
Overall, “Pablo” is a unique interpretation of one fo the world’s most iconic artist with an important spotlight on the highs and lows of running your own business. The recording will take your through a kaleidoscope of emotions with educating listeners on some of the lesser-known facts of life and times of Pablo Picasso! I would rate this recording 5 out of 5 stars and encourage those who are a fans of both musical and classic art to check out the recording available on Spotify!