So What's The Plan?

If you’re 20 years old right now or, in fact, have ever been 20 years old, you have an absolute treat in store with this new work in progress showcase. Harry Gascoigne is an incredible pianist who has written a witty and wonderful new musical that attracts audiences of all ages. 

In this high quality sharing, the cast of three young actors present an hour long production - playing a variety of characters as they go. This is aided by minimal but comical prop and costume adjustments, set against a plain curtained wall on a raised stage. Setting the space up in this way was a great use of the Canal Cafe Theatre, as it could otherwise have felt very cabaret or stand up, which are limiting labels for a show with such potential.

Even in its early stages of development, So What’s The Plan? is not only funny but very cleverly composed. The fourth wall breaks, quick quips and references really keep the pace afloat, especially as there wasn’t a great deal of variety otherwise. It felt that the comedy aspects kept the emotional range a little one note; making an audience laugh is always more impressive if you can also make them cry. 

Lucy Brindle’s songs were a definite highlight, both in content and delivery. She added a layer of melancholy with her solo, and felt like the central protagonist amongst the group. The only constructive criticism here would be to reprise the number later on to address some of the points she raises. As her storyline is the primary source of genuine issues, such as loneliness, heartbreak, and financial difficulties, it would be great to see these explored further, and from a multitude of perspectives. 

With many other new shows having similar energy, the only thing this show is missing is a stronger USP. It is a greatly enjoyable watch, with a brilliant foundation for future progression, and only a few weak spots among the score. It’s exciting to consider what the inclusion of more scenes could bring, as they would advance the plot and give depth to the characters and their choices. The same can be said for staging and choreography - will it be a dance heavy show, or one with little movement? 

LX and sound departments had a surprisingly large amount to do for a workshop of this size, but they executed every cue flawlessly, which was particularly notable as we regularly swapped from live to recorded backing tracks. 

All it needs is a little more tension, and moments allowing for higher stakes then this show could be a hit! If you’re a fan of Marlow & Moss or Operation Mincemeat, then keep an eye on this talented bunch and get yourself along to whatever they do next! 

We were invited to offer feedback for this brand new musical workshop performance at the Canal Cafe Theatre on the 19th April 2024.  For more details on the show, you can follow @swtpmusical on Instagram.

Review written by Katie McConnell


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