Camden Fringe 2023: Invasion! An Alien Musical at Camden People’s Theatre
A highlight of Camden Fringe 2023, Invasion! An Alien Musical is a refreshingly upbeat and comedic addition to the world of musicals. With a strong score by Lily Blundell alongside Jasper Cresdee-Hyde and Jonathan Powell’s book, it whisks audiences into a 60-minute escapade of delightful absurdity.
The plot is goofy and easy to follow: Johnny Fox (Jamie Ellis) is a wide-eyed employee at Lotus Land, a magical theme park, where he feels disappointed with life, owing to his minimum-wage job and diminishing aspirations. However, his mundane life takes a turn when he discovers that his boss, Jack Lotus (Gregory Miller), is planning to take over the world using AI. Only with the help of Jack’s daughter, Sola (Freya Cowan), can he stop the invasion.
The key to this musical is not to take anything seriously. It’s a silly plot; the characters are all caricatured stereotypes, from naïve Johnny to the prime minister herself (Iona Rogan) – who successfully manages to completely underestimate the threat before she is forced to resign – but few are truly dislikable. Its general theme of the serious threat posed by feelings of nostalgia (as fittingly tackled in More of the Same) is certainly apt and a valid target for comedic polemics.
The production by Cresdee-Hyde and Powell is subtle and to-the-point, with few props and simple costumes by Niamh Howat that complement the intentionally modest aesthetic. This is supported by Charlotte Dargan’s capable choreography that entertains thoroughly. But it is the music itself that steals the show: Blundell’s score does have its fair share of inspirations, but it stands on its own two feet and is entertaining throughout, Radical being a particular success that is fittingly reprised a couple of times.
The cast, too, deliver a fantastic performance. They’re not seasoned musical performers, but their appearances on-stage are always spot-on and entrancing, despite all of them taking on multiple characters. A delightful romp, Invasion! An Alien Musical is not to be missed.
Photos: Charlotte Dargan
Invasion! An Alien Musical is at Camden People’s Theatre from 31st July until 3rd August 2023. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.