Rehab The Musical

There is an air of excitement as we enter the intimate auditorium at Neon 194, and it’s justified, the Rehab cast-list promises a lot – and doesn’t disappoint! The piece has power and energy from the opening notes through to the bows.

The story follows Kid Pop (that’s his stage persona; his real name is Neil!) after photographers capture him at an after-show party getting high on drugs and booze. He is sentenced to 60 days in rehab where he is confronted with reality for the first time in his life. When we meet him he’s a nasty piece of work; a former child star corrupted by fame. Neil is played by Christian Maynard, who shows the arc of the character so well; we journey with him and are eventually on his side.

In The Glade rehab centre, Neil meets a group of people battling various demons. Jane (Rebecca Thornhill) recounts her various sexual exploits with famous females of a particular era (her put-down of Angela Rippon is a brilliant piece of script writing), to Phil (Oscar Conlon-Morrey) battling gambling and food addiction, to the wonderfully named and absurdly portrayed Barry Bronze (John Barr) who is addicted to tanning! This brings light relief, but also reminds us that we can become addicted to anything. And the point of the audience being seated around the action, is to confront us with that idea and invite us to think what our demon might be.

The twist to the story is provided by Neil’s morally bankrupt agent Malcolm Stone (Keith Allen), accompanied by his ruthless sidekick Beth Boscombe (Jodie Steele). They send in the vulnerable Lucy Blake, played to perfection by Maiya Quansah-Breed, to get dirt on him and ensure he stays in the headlines.

The powerful music is reflective of the pop culture of the 90s. There are so many stand out moments, that it’s hard to highlight one. However, the brilliantly written ‘Museum of Loss’ is worth a mention. Telling the tragic backstories of Martha Prosser (Mica Paris MBE), the centre’s key worker and Lucy, this isn’t so much a duet as a duel, sung by the two powerhouse voices.

This is truly an ensemble piece, no-one steals the lime-light or seems like a spare part. The characterisation is brilliantly executed. We believe everything about each story and can relate to aspects of each character as they battle whatever it is that brings them together. And this is really the point. Yes, we’re in rehab with extreme stories, but all of human life is on this stage, reminding us of the beauty, fragility and complexity in us all.

This story has heart, warmth, pain and humour – dark humour! It takes you on a journey and leaves you simply saying ‘wow.’ You have to go and see this show!

This show was reviewed on the 17th January 2024.  Rehab The Musical plays at Neon 194, London until the 17th February 2024.

Tickets available here: Rehab The Musical | Neon 194 from January 2024

Review written by Ian Worsfold


Photo credit: Mark Senior

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