Camden Fringe Festival 2017: Making Waves: A Song Cycle at the Hen and Chickens Theatre
Making Waves: A Song Cycle is an hour-long series of original songs, produced as part of the 12th Annual Camden Fringe Festival, that attempts to turn the experience of modern love into musical theatre.
Directed by Abby Restall and Drou Constantinou, who are also two of the show’s eight actors, Making Waves advertises itself as a show that “encapsulates the thoughts and feelings of everyday people in the hurdles of everyday life”. Everyday life, according to this production, however, is simultaneously a very narrow affair, centring almost entirely around romantic love, and occasionally generic to the point of risking triteness. The lyrics of Daniel Cartwright and Tom Brassington are at their most powerful when they are specific, as in numbers like I’ve Been Meaning to Call, whereas the universal platitudes of Beyond the Hillside can fall a little flat. Attempting to reach as broad an audience as possible also seems to entail leaning on some fairly tired tropes, as evidenced by the song Friendzone, which uncritically insists that women ignore nice guys for bad boys. Despite half the cast and both directors being women, the piece has a curiously outdated view of gender roles.
In addition to attempting to pull at heartstrings, which it does to varying degree of success, the show’s programme also insists that this performance will make you “laugh ‘til you cry”. There were occasional laughs from the audience, not to mention a few genuinely entertaining metafictional jokes, but overall many of the gags are stretched out a bit further than they can comfortably go. The comedic songs, such as Ginger’s Lament, also seem somewhat out of place next to sentimental tunes like Fooling Myself, although this jarring effect is somewhat alleviated by the total commitment given to each song by all the performers involved. Making Waves fails to push the boat out in terms of storytelling but, at the very least, no one involved can be faulted for bad singing.
Photo: The Hidden Theatre Company / Facebook
Making Waves: A Song Cycle was at the Hen and Chicken Theatre from the 4th until 7th August 2017.
For further information about Camden Fringe Festival 2017 visit the website here.