It is always great to see new writing in the heart of the west end. Broadway has always recognised the importance of brand new writing and London’s West End always accepts its shows with open arms; Wicked, Avenue Q, Once etc but we don’t seem to have the same knack or desire to take a risk and put on new writing of our own. This is why my night at the theatre last night was so refreshing. “GEEK! A New Musical” is set in America, but it is written by British composer Scott Morgan.
Performed at the Tristan Bates Theatre in the heart of the West End, this fun, frivolous and downright naughty new show provides a laugh and shock every second!
Inspired by the 90s craze of ‘Clueless’ type films with the archetypal pretty school bitch and the new nerd who needs a makeover, the story isn’t original, but the way it is told completely is. We follow the story of Jane, who happens to be very plain. She is made pretty by a hilarious trio of the popular kids. It is all a ploy for them to win the money for their greedy shallow selves.
Directors Jamie Chapman Dixon and Porl Matthews have borrowed many conventions from the time honoured tradition of Pantomime with some excellent comical tricks. Wigs, bare bums, cocaine snorting teachers pop along the way to provide cheeky laughs and one or two jaw-dropping moments. The cast invest everything they have into their performances with their tongues firmly planted in their cheeks, and it made for a very entertaining evening. CJ De Mooi is bonkers in the role of whisky drinking, drug taking, student abusing Ms Axel. His physicality and comic timing are delicious. Lea Marinelli makes the most scrumptious high school bitch and is clearly relishing every abusive moment.
Anna Haresnape is a very special young actress who I couldn’t take my eyes off. She is natural, touching and heart-warmingly funny as our nerdy heroine. If you understand from the offset that this show is very much making fun of itself and the genre it is in, then you will most definitely have a bizarre and fun night out.
Review by Gary Graham