Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Review: Gregory Hazel - What Am I Doing? at the Union Theatre

Gregory Hazel: What Am I Doing?
Union Theatre
Reviewed on Sunday 11th October 2015

Marking his third solo show, in What Am I Doing Gregory Hazel played 'the worrying actor'. Offering an insight into how he sees the world through his eyes, Hazel guided the audience through an endearing evening with charm and plenty of stagey humour. 

Hazel revealed tales of his childhood as well as more recent experiences such as being approached by a talent scout from BBC1's The Voice. He also continuously spoke about the highs and lows of his career, regularly referring to being cast as a tree in the UK premiere of Maury Yeston's Phantom. 

Various musical numbers accompanied each section. Hazel was joined by musical director Simona Budd; despite Budd not speaking at all during the performance, the pair's connection was noticeably strong and they worked superbly together.

I loved the quirky song choices - there were songs by Sondheim and from Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, but my favourite unexpected choice was 'Making Good' which Stephen Schwartz wrote for Wicked's original score; however, the song was axed and eventually replaced with 'The Wizard and I' during developmental workshops. It's such a joy to see someone breaking away from the norm!

The stand out song of the evening was 'Being Alive' from Company. There are hints of both classical and contemporary influences in Hazel's voice which the number showcased beautifully.

Hazel took to the stage confidently. Apart from a couple of wobbly notes, the nerves he admitted to having later in the show didn't show onstage. He had no need to be worried as What Am I Doing? is a cleverly written one-man show and the pace never dipped. Gregory Hazel is a naturally entertaining performer, he made the piece feel extremely personal and built a strong relationship with the audience.

Directed by Emma Trow, What Am I Doing? shows some real promise. With some tweaks and development I can certainly see the show becoming popular on London's fast growing cabaret scene.

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

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