There’s a huge cry in the world of musical theatre to support new writing. It’s a dangerous place to be, perched on the edge of a hugely saturated and commercial industry with a new musical, yet with Another Way there is a sense of huge bravery. An interweaving story examining the lives of six Londoners falling in and out of love, dealing with illness, creative struggles and figuring out life in their twenties, the show feels very now.
The score, penned by Benedict is both interesting and beautiful, if a little weighed down by the amount of lyrically self aware ballads. However it was a treat to hear the huge variety of voice styles on show within the cast. Rock, soul and MT voices sat comfortably side-by-side allowing each character’s individuality to shine. The cast are generally strong, though it is Julie Atherton who shines as the heartbroken Holly, showing once again why she’s one of the best in the biz.
Director Bo Boland has taken some bold creative choices in his staging, most of which pay off, with the exception of a muddled opening sequence involving the audience being penned in on the stage itself to be sung at before being allowed to take their seats. However the rest of the piece is imaginatively and neatly staged.
Whilst new writing should be encouraged and applauded, here something is lacking in the plot. The show feels like a huge exposition for a story that never really happens. Henley and Allen-Martin’s script is littered with pop culture references to twitter, youtube, selfies and YOLO (shudder) and whilst the characters are both recognisable and likeable enough, the audience is left feeling charmed yet unsatisfied. Another Way feels almost like Act One of a tamer, British Rent for the digital generation. With some work, this could be a real sparkly little gem of a show.
*** (3 stars)
Runs until 5th October 2013