Grim: A New Musical at the Charing CrossCultureTheatre
Grim is the name of a new musical that has just opened at the Charing Cross Theatre – the recently renovated little musical hall round the corner from the central London train station – and it’s a name that quite effectively sums up a show that, despite a pretty score and fine performances from the principal actors, is actually a bit of a downer. It’s not exactly the desired atmosphere when out for some West End glamour.
The unusual story’s main character is none other than the Grim Reaper herself, who after watching the painful laments of a mother who has just lost her baby to the clutches of death, finds herself compelled to explore man’s fearful relationship to her. To do this she decides to enrol in school, where she encounters – surprise, surprise – Cupid, the angel of love. He falls head over heels in love with the serious and apparently emotionless new student, who in turn (despite reciprocating his feelings) is obliged to hold back hers in order to spare his life. The mysterious death of one of her fellow classmates attracts the suspicion of the other students, however, who rally against the strange, silent new addition to the school, and decide that for everybody’s safety, they must rid themselves of Grim.
The music is sweet, albeit forgettable, and beautifully performed by the talented cast, of which the stand-outs are leading man Anthony Matteo as Cupid, with a beautifully sung performance throughout, and Georgi Mottram’s appealing, comic Amelia, the shy and lonely girl who becomes Grim’s only friend. The character of Grim, less flamboyant than the other two, is perfectly played by Roseanna Christoforou, and the trio of taunters, Cherry, Sabrina and Ruby (Kathryn Rutherford, Rhiannon Drake and Louisa Cameron respectively), who from the outset make Grim’s time at the school difficult, are also a lot of fun. The production as a whole is competently staged and directed by Adam Wollerton to a book written by Fiona O’Malley and Joseph Alexander’s score. Anna Driftmier’s set and costume design is adequate but boringly simple, with black as the predominant colour, and one can’t help imagine how the show might look like should it take off and be treated to a big budget, glitzy makeover. However, the bleak subject matter may limit the show’s appeal, and it’s not a good sign if at the end one can’t wait to leave the theatre.
Grim: A New Musical is at the Charing Cross Theatre until 30th August 2014, for further information or to book visit here.