Betwixt, Trafalgar Studio 2

8 Sep

Better late than never! I saw Betwixt for the first time towards the beginning of its run and now agaain after some changes in the cast.

It  is not called a funny musical for nothing and the advice in the programme to not think too much and just go along with it should be taken to heart. Buf if you are prepared to do just that, you are in for two hour of blissful fun.

I find it quite difficult to say anything about the story without sounding totally daft, so I’ll just say that it is about a writer who suffers from writer’s block and, together with his new roommate, is then transported to an enchanted kingdom where he has to prove himself, finds the love of his life and eventually his confidence and new inspiration. On their way they encounter nymphs, cross-dressing mutes, a disembodied head and other fantastic characters.

While the story is  undoubtedlyvery funny, there are also more serious moments, which help to feel and root for Bailey (the write), and also Cooper (his roommate).

Bailey is played by Benedict Salter and, personally, I can’t imagine anyone else being as good as him as the “skinny ginger boy with a pencil”. He also has a very good voice, and he’s grown a lot in the role since I first saw it. They are not using microphones and he got drowned out sometimes, but I could understand him perfectly the second time. He also sings the, in my opinion, best song in the show, namely “Eyes of a Child”.

Steven Webb as his new roommate Cooper steals the show for me though. He is incredibly funny and flamboyant, but he also manages to make you laugh in one second and feel for his character in the next. The perfect example for this is the scene right before “How Do You Know (Reprise)”.

Ashleigh Gray once again shows what a beautiful voice she has, her Bavarian accent is hilarious and spot-on and she has great chemistry with the others, but her interactions with Webb’s Cooper are incredible.

Peter Duncan causes many laughs as Haydn Prince/Prince Haydn and especially as Garbo. “Fabulous Man” is amazing.

The ensemble members, Will Hawksworth, Alyssa Nicol, Vicki Lee Taylor, Rob Wilshaw and Kelly Chinery (replaced Vicki Lee Taylor on 22 August) are great, but Will Hawksworth deserves a special mention. His facial expressions (or lack of) are incredible and his comic timing is spot-on. Not only, but especially as Joan.

I have now seen both Ellen Greene and Lizzie Roper as Princess/Nymph Queen and Enchantress. They both play it completely different and therefore it’s impossible to compare them. There are some parts where I preferred Ellen Greene and others where I preferred Lizzie Roper. Having said that, I really miss the song “Between”. I’m sure they had their reasons why they cut it, but I thought it was the perfect ending and Ellen Greene’s rendition of it was breathtaking. However, I don’t think it would fit to Lizzie Roper’s characterisation. I still enjoyed it, but I couldn’t help feeling that Betwixt lost its heart with this particular cut.

The musical closes this Saturday and I strongly recommend to beg, steal or borrow (alternatively, buy!) a ticket if you haven’t seen it yet.It is one musical not to be missed, also because it all fits perfectly together: the music, the story and of course the incredibly talented cast!

Despite it being a funny musical, I left feeling all warm and fuzzy inside and I think that is because the characters are written so well that you can’t help being happy for them when they find their happy ending.

Go and see it before it is too late!

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