Grim: A New Musical tells the ambitious story of the Grim Reaper falling in love with Cupid and comes from the young team at The Untold Theatre Company.
I’m afraid to say the inexperience of the company shines through in this flawed production. There is no doubt talent and passion on and off-stage but there are a number of rookie errors which are impossible to ignore.
The plot surrounds the Grim Reaper and Cupid who meet at school and soon discover they are soulmates. It’s an interesting premise but the execution doesn’t live up to the idea. The tone of the musical doesn’t help matters – there are at least three on-stage deaths which are somewhat diluted by scenes of teenage romance and girls dressing up for a school dance. The naff humour sits at odds with the more melodramatic moments too. It just doesn’t work.
As you may fear in a story about the Grim Reaper and Cupid, the book is stuffed full of tired clichés about the power of love and the darkness of death. The characters are also painfully one dimensional – the ‘mean girl’ bully and the misunderstood loner being two key examples. Even the depiction of the Grim Reaper is under baked, coming off as just plain dull rather than morose or menacing. There is so much more that could be done with these characters.
Despite the flaws, it’s not all bad. The young cast is talented, with a strong ensemble nailing some impressive harmonies. Roseana Christoforou is in fine voice in the titular role. She doesn’t have an easy job with some of the more unusual melodic choices but handles the notes with ease. There are also flashes of real talent amongst the other key players, including the strong-voiced Kathryn Rutherford, although certain performances could be dialled down a notch or too – there were moments when it all feels a bit am dram.
Composer Joseph Alexander shows potential with some searing songs. However, the second half could benefit from more dynamic in the score to create more impact when needed.
It’s really encouraging to see an ambitious production from such a young team and with some more experience under their belts, The Untold Theatre Company should be one to watch out for in a few years to come.