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BWW Reviews: BARE: THE ROCK MUSICAL, The Union Theatre, April 30 2013

The Union Theatre has proved once again how excellent fringe theatre can be, with this superb presentation of a challenging musical.

bare: the rock musical is a vibrant, dynamic piece. Paul Taylor Mills has provided subtle and inventive direction throughout, and so avoided the potential clichés in Jon Hartmere and Damon Intrabartolo's book, which tells of a group of students who are soon to graduate from their strict, Catholic high school and of their various relationships and misdemeanours within the boarding houses. Devastatingly sad, in perhaps unanticipated ways, bare still somehow avoids being all about teenage angst; these characters are real, multi-dimensional people.

Male protagonists Ross William Wild (Jason) and Michael Vinsen (Peter) successfully create a very believable relationship, with authentic and explosive performances from Lilly-Jane Young as Ivy and Melanie Greney as Nadia. Hannah Levane provides absolutely stunning vocals as Sister Chantelle, Matt Harrop gives a striking and intelligent performance as the priest and Fia Houston-Hamilton draws the audience's eye as Kyra. Natalie Chua provides a very sweet Diane and also breezes in and does some extremely impressive, atmospheric dancing - Racky Plews's choreography is apt, sensitive and vivid throughout. Finally, Yvette Robinson gives a particularly evocative performance as Claire, Michael's mother. And all this while singing a very challenging score: hats off to Musical Director, Huw Evans who really utilised the scope of tone within Intrabartolo's score.

The lighting throughout is effective, particularly during Lilly-Jane Young's solo. That said, the Union Theatre is too small for the amount of smoke used in Act 1 - the audience was engulfed as much as the cast.

All in all, this is a fantastic production, though content (drug usage and some sexual scenes) render it potentially unsuitable for all audiences.

bare: the rock musical runs at the Union Theatre until 25 May 2013.

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From This Author Alice Chappell