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Review: BEFORE AFTER Studio Cast Recording

SimG Records is soon to release a Studio Cast Recording of original British love story, Before After, written by Stuart Matthew Price and Timothy Knapman. The show enjoyed its original workshop at the St James Theatre back in 2014 - funded by the Arts Council and directed by Simon Greiff - and has since been produced in Japan. Musical theatre stars Hadley Fraser and Caroline Sheen featured in this workshop and have gone on to record the album, in the hope that a full UK production will follow in the near future.

A show in two halves, it focuses on the relationship between Ben and Ami with the pivot point being a tragic accident. The action moves backwards and forwards, before and after the traumatic experience that impacted their lives so dramatically. With 14 musical numbers, the production feels very filmic in its content with the storytelling shining through.

The orchestrations delivered solely by a piano, guitar and cello are understated and stunning throughout. The opening is particularly beautiful along with the introduction of "No More Forgetting". It's a rollercoaster of emotions going back and forth, but the content is always engaging. From hope in "This Time" to reminiscing in "The Painting" to the emotive realisation in "Coming Back (Reprise); all this plus witty moments to make you laugh, striking a nice balance. The ends of each act finishes with the perfect numbers, leaving the audience wanting more.

Fraser and Sheen's vocals are exemplary across the whole recording. Fraser especially excels during "Up Here" and the title track "Before After" in Act Two. Sheen too demonstrates her brilliant vocal range in "Daddy, I Met This Boy" and their electric chemistry radiates in "Sketches". As a two-hander, both have an extraordinary amount of work to do in switching their intent quite rapidly . On the whole, they do so with ease. Only very occasionally, when an individual musical number changes direction suddenly, it would have been good for the change in their vocal tones to be a little more extreme, but a minor detail in the larger scheme of things.

A strong British musical with clear storytelling and a great deal of heart.

Before After is released on Monday 17 October 2016 and can be purchased in physical format from www.SimGProductions.com.

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