Perhaps this show has been simply mismarketed? Romeo & Juliet: One-man-prog-acoustic-concept album would be a more accurate (if less pithy) title. I unfortunately realised within about a second of taking my seat, reading a programme containing all the lyrics (i.e. the entire content of the show), and upon hearing Rob McGlade play the first note that my expectations of an energetic, multi-roled, singing and dancing version of the Bard’s epic love story were about to be brutally crushed.
“Painfully awkward and sadly deceiving”
You would not describe a gig or a concert as a musical. A ‘musical’ implies not only music but a certain amount of theatricality, emotion and characterisation. This was simply ‘music’. If McGlade had released an album then I would applaud him and listen with interest, but this does not make a performance. Although McGlade is clearly a talented musician, his sound reminiscent of alternative rock groups such as Belle and Sebastian or The Flaming Lips, he is not a performer. Most of the audience spent the show diligently following the lyrics in their programmes as McGlade neither connected with his audience nor used the stage in any way. He mostly rocked backwards and forwards whilst playing the guitar and singing. There was no need to watch him: this show was an album, not a show. The programme reveals that the lyrics consist of quotations from Shakespeare’s play strung together, edited with the addition of extra phrases to add more rhymes and fill in the rhythm where necessary. There is a photo of McGlade on every page, surrounded by the chosen lyrics for each scene. Why? Who knows! I can only describe this show as painfully awkward and sadly deceiving. It was an ordeal that I regret having had to sit through. Romeo & Juliet: One-Man Musical will be running at The Space at Surgeon’s Hall – Theatre 3 at 9:15pm until 24th August.