Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Review: Muted Rehearsed Reading at the Actors' Church

Muted: Rehearsed Reading
Actors' Church
Reviewed on Thursday 4th February 2016

Having premiered at the Courtyard Theatre four years ago (under its previous title 'After The Turn'), last week Interval Productions staged an updated version of Muted. A raw and honest new musical about family, love, loss, guilt and moving forward, Muted tells its story with great humanity.

The complex plot centres around a boy - Michael - who has remained silent since his mother's tragic death; the piece delves into the lives of Michael and loved ones from his past and present, allowing the audience to gradually piece together the jigsaw of Michael's turmoil.

Featuring rocky melodies as well as big musical theatre ballads, Tim Prottey-Jones' score is superbly balanced and brings the story together beautifully. My stand out number was 'I'll Be With You Always' (the song also features on Prottey-Jones' recent album); starring as Michael's mother, Ashleigh Gray's vocals effortlessly soared exposing both vulnerability and strength

Sarah Henley's book appeals to a younger generation in a way very few musicals are able to do. Producer and co-lyricist Tori Allen-Martin also performed in the performance, shining with both her tender and powerhouse vocal tones. It's surely only a matter of time until Andy Coxon books a major role in the West End - he stood out throughout offering a heartfelt performance and huge, epic vocals. 

Steven Webb, Liam Doyle and Greg Oliver - who were part of the original cast alongside Allen-Martin and Gray - were also stellar throughout. Frustratingly rocky backing tracks and church acoustics are far from a match made in heaven, but the company battled through and gave their all. Various elements of the story were hard to follow in rehearsed reading format, but I'm intrigued to see how the piece would work if fully staged - it is certainly open to interpretation. 

Going forward the script could be even tighter; I think Henley's script could play with the audiences emotions a little more to ensure everyone is taken on a roller coaster ride. There is certainly something very exciting about Muted, fingers crossed there's a producer out there willing to take the show to the next level.

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

Read our previous interviews with Ashleigh Gray & Liam Doyle

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