BWW Review: FIVER, Live At Z del

BWW Review: FIVER, Live At Z del

BWW Review: FIVER, Live At Z delThe latest production from New. Theatre Company is a song cycle from Alex James Ellison and Tom Lees; as with last month's The Dysfunctional Guide to Being a Third Wheel it is playing in the cabaret space Live at Zédel. Directed once again by Jordan Murphy, it boasts a talented cast of four: Sabrina Aloueche, Joe Kerry, Jodie Steele and Daniel Buckley.

Beginning with a busker, it follows the journey of a single five pound note as it passes from person to person in London, telling their stories of life and love in the modern world. From the busker, who charms the eponymous fiver from an audience member, it reaches a homeless man; he had decided to buy a coffee with it but someone else buys one for him, so instead he buys a scratchcard as it feels like his lucky day. The fiver's flight then becomes slightly more expansive as it's given in change in the shop, put inside a greetings card, spent in a café, and dropped on the floor - before finally, serendipitously, finding its way back to the very same busker.

Song cycles can end up being very hit-and-miss if the link between the musical numbers is too tenuous, but in Fiver there is a concept that is both solid and very interesting. The most obvious thing that brings all the people together in the show is that one five pound note, but on a wider level it delves into feelings we have about modern life. Early on in the show, a young woman sings about feeling disconnected - it's satisfying to see that we are actually more connected than we might realise in our daily lives.

The book does need to be worked on a bit, as the early parts of the show feel far more developed than the latter - but given that the current running time is approximately one hour, there is definitely room to flesh out some of the characters and the stories they want to tell. For example, the sections linked by the greetings card are just a little too ambiguous at present, but it wouldn't take much more just to make that story a bit clearer. The songs are fantastic, particularly the opening number, encapsulating humour, warmth and a range of emotions - as well as being very catchy.

The production has been really cleverly put together, with a small band up on the stage and the main action taking place in the middle of the room. Not only does this setup immerse you in their little world, but it also focuses you on the action rather than any other potential distractions - helped by preventing the staff from walking around taking and delivering drinks orders on this one occasion.

A fantastic cast really brings the show to life, all showing off incredible vocals and harmonising to perfection. Joe Kerry is brilliantly placed as the busker, full of cheek but easily getting the audience onside, and Sabrina Aloueche is supremely funny - her attempts to leave a casual voicemail for her ex is a real highlight. Jodie Steele and Daniel Buckley make a great double act early on, and the latter really stands out as the homeless man celebrating the small positives coming his way.

This is yet another good example of the talented creatives that are waiting in the wings of British musical theatre - it is very promising that they are being given the chance to show something truly original, thanks to New. Theatre Company. Lees and Ellison's show is engaging, entertaining and full of promise. Fully deserving of a longer run in the future.

Fiver is at Live at Zédel until 27 November

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From This Author Debbie Gilpin

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