I've had my issues with Above The Stag Theatre in the past but their track record on musical comedy isn't bad. Cleveland Street with book and lyrics by Glenn Chandler and music by Matt Deveraux is based on a real-life Victorian scandal of the young telegraph messenger boys who doubled as male prostitutes whose clientele included a number of public figures. The show, and Tim McArthur's production, is likeable enough but nothing spectacular, with some foot-tapping music hall pastiches but coming up short on actual laughs. The cast are also pretty good, with nobody really standaing out but nobody letting the side down either - my only real criticism, echoed by the man sitting next to me, being their volume and diction on the faster songs, a lot of the lyrics are drowned out by the instruments. I can't even say the actors are fighting a losing battle with the keyboards as mostly they don't even put up a fight. There's a couple of slightly panto moments when the actors break character to talk to the band or make fun of the wigs and they feel out of place. It's like they're trying to give the show some oomph which it's somewhat lacking - even the venue's trademarkis a blink-and-miss-it affair. It's all enjoyable enough but not up to the standards of last year's Silence of the Lambs musical.
Cleveland Street by Glenn Chandler and Matt Deveraux is booking until the 29th of May at Above The Stag Theatre.