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EDINBURGH 2017 - BWW Review: IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU, theSpace @ Venue45

EDINBURGH 2017 - BWW Review: IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU, theSpace @ Venue45

EDINBURGH 2017 - BWW Review: IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU, theSpace @ Venue45 It Shoulda Been You premiered on Broadway in 2015, with a cast including Tyne Daly, Sierra Boggess and Lisa Howard in a production directed by David Hyde Pierce. It receives one of its first UK presentations here from new Edinburgh company Room 29 Theatre, and it's an inspired choice for their first Fringe show.

At the St George Hotel, it's the morning of Rebecca Steinberg and Brian Howard's wedding. She is Jewish, he is Catholic. Her mother is a force of nature, his mother is a tempest in a cocktail shaker. Rebecca's sister, Jenny, has mixed feelings about the wedding and when Rebecca's ex-boyfriend Marty turns up, an unpredictable chain of events is set in motion, and love pops up in mysterious places.

Charming, original and funny, It Shoulda Been You has to be one of the most entertaining musicals in this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Brian Hargrove's book and lyrics engage until the end - the plot contains many twists and turns along the way, featuring both a wedding reception and a wedding deception - and each of the 13 characters is skilfully developed to an extent that the audience can sympathise in different ways with each one.

The show is a good balance of music and dialogue - Barbara Anselmi's score features several memorable songs, including "Love You Till the Day", "I Never Wanted This", "What They Never Tell You" and the title number.

If there's a standout performer, it's Marnie Yule (Jenny). Each of her solo numbers hits the mark accordingly, and her scenes with charismatic Ruairidh Nichols (Marty) - who makes several memorable entrances - are amongst the highlights of the 95 minutes.

The wedding couple - Elayn Fraser (Rebecca) and Sean Taheny (Brian) - are a good match, and particular mention must go to Max Reid (the ever-present wedding planner Albert), whose excellent vocals garner show-stopping applause in "Albert's Turn".

The parents of the bride - Cathy Geddie (Judy) and Peter Robson (Murray) - suitably gain the audience's sympathy, whilst the parents of the groom - Rae Mitchell (Georgette) and John Bruce (George) - are rightly somewhat more irritating. Christina Craven is particularly well cast in the role of Annie, and both she and Andrew Gardiner (Greg) prove to be more pivotal to the plot than first appears.

With any Fringe staging of a musical with a sizeable band (in this case seven players), there's always a dilemma as to whether to mic the performers. For this show, the lack of mics does allow more freedom in vocals, although - as the audience is seated on three sides of the rectangular space - occasionally words get lost if a character has their back to a section of the audience.

Overall, It Shoulda Been You is highly recommended. A strong (and delightful) inaugural production for Room 29 Theatre, which will hopefully be the first of many.

It Shoulda Been You runs at theSpace @ Venue45, Jeffrey Street until August 19 at 8.15pm.

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From This Author Gregor Dickson

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