If It Only Even Runs a Minute 2, Landor Theatre

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After my review of the first London edition of cabaret night If It Only Even Runs a Minute, I did wonder how the hosts Oliver Southgate and Lydia Grant would take my comments. Not everyone whose show was described as a “shambolic mess”, and whose delivery was described as “amusingly under-rehearsed”, would necessarily be happy about the reviewer in question.

As it turns out, they were fine with it. So fine that I was invited back by them for Monday’s second edition.

At its core, it hadn’t changed. There’s a fine line between being informally relaxed and being disorganised – a line which If It Only Even Runs‘s hosts display a tendency to use as a skipping rope.

Personally, I find their presentation style charming, especially because the calibre of Monday’s guest performers were so high. I was being comped, though: I do wonder whether, if I’d paid for the tickets out of my own pocket, whether I’d find it quite so endearing.

But to concentrate on that side of the evening is unfair – as I said last time, the quality of the performances (and, in particular, the guest performers) is the real focus of the evening. And in their second London show, the calibre of the guests shot up several notches.

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If It Only Even Runs a Minute 2, Landor Theatre4Scott Matthewman2012-07-12 00:11:19After my review of the first London edition of cabaret night If It Only Even Runs a Minute, I did wonder how the hosts Oliver Southgate and Lydia Gran…

I Love You Because, Landor Theatre

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Witty tales of New York romance are a staple of both musical theatre and TV sitcom, and I Love You Because stands up favourably in comparison with the best of them.

Ryan Cunningham and Joshua Salzman’s musical examines the love lives of geeky Austin (Daniel Boys) and devil may care brother Jeff (Richard Frame), one trying to win back a girlfriend by feigning disinterest and the other trying to have a good time without getting emotionally involved.

Apart from the opening number, where his vocals are overwhelmed by the stronger voices of his five cast mates, Boys delivers an impressive performance, rising in confidence and stature throughout, both as character and performer. Jodie Jacobs and Debbie Kurup excel in their roles of potential love interests, ably backed up by Mark Goldthorp and Lucy Williamson. But even among such an impressive ensemble, it’s Frame’s exuberance and comic timing that shines.

Rob McWhir’s direction ensures that some of the songs’ knowing Vaudevillian excesses are counterpointed by acutely observed small moments throughout. And, while the show may not end on its strongest musical number, the message that the show conveys – one should love someone, or something, because of their faults rather than in spite of them – applies equally well to this little gem of a musical.

Reviewed for The Stage

I Love You Because, Landor Theatre4Scott Matthewman2012-07-11 16:47:17Witty tales of New York romance are a staple of both musical theatre and TV sitcom, and I Love You Because stands up favourably in comparison with the…