New musical theatre is continuing to premiere at The Other Palace with the smaller Studio inside the theatre showcasing a summer season of new works. At the heart of this and playing a month long residency there is the brand new song cycle Millennals – a show that may already be familiar to some of you.
Having been written over the last four years, Millennials got a tease when it was performed as part of MTFest last year. Three songs from the show have also been released over the past three years and performed at West End LIVE. After a long and complicated road, the show can finally be seen in its entirety… with the most unique setting you will ever find (more on that later).
At its heart, Millennials is a song cycle about what its like to be a, you guessed it, millennial. Poking fun at the stereotypes this generation get from other generations – mainly that they are lazy and just eat avocados, the loose narrative sees the cast of six explore these tropes, challenge them and, in some cases, own them. All of this over a short and snappy 60 minutes.
Written and composed by Elliot Clay, the songs are part of what makes Millennials so exciting. Part musical theatre, part pop banger, the songs feature witty lyrics and instantly catchy hooks that will ensure they stay in your head long after you leave the theatre.
Great songs need a great cast to perform them, and for this production some of the very best have been assembled. Luke Bayer, Hiba Elchikhe, Luke Latchman, Hannah Lowther, Rob Madge and Georgina Onuorah are the six stars on hand to bring these songs to life. Having appeared in huge shows like Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Heathers and Cinderella, it feels incredibly special to be in such a small and immersive space with performers of their calibre.
The vocals that come out of these six are sensational. Anyone that has ever seen Hiba Elchikhe perform before will be aware of how incredible her voice is, and she is particulary other-worldly here, shining on ‘Count My Blessings’, while Georgina provides an undoubted highlight with the rousing (and my personal favourite) ‘Remember The Feeling’. Hannah Lowther delivers a beautiful rendition of 'Masterpiece' while Luke Latchman thrills on 'Priceless'.
Luke Bayer is at his captivating best, particularly on gorgeous number ‘See You’ where he showcases his vocal brilliance, while Rob Madge gets the comic highlight of the evening with their fantastic and energetic performance of the hilarious (and cleverly written) ‘Four Little Words’ – keeping their live vocals in tact while jumping on a trampoline. The group numbers during the show feel very reminiscent of Six with title track ‘Millennials’ setting the tone perfectly and allowing each amazing cast member to have their time to shine.
Let’s talk about the giant avocado in the room – The staging. To call the set design from Andrew Exeter a work of genius would be an understatement. Immersive in its nature, as well as that unique piece of staging, the audience are invited to watch the show in a variety of interesting contraptions including a bathtub and a ballpit. Directed by Hannah Benson, the cast mill around talking to you and interacting both before the show and during so if you’re not a fan of interactive theatre, grab yourself a seat in the gallery (though even there you might not be safe). Otherwise, sit back and enjoy balls flying in your face.
Perhaps Millennials is not quite perfect yet and could benefit from a tiny bit of polishing so it can get to the level it aspires to be, but its imperfections are all part of its charm. The way the cast run around the small studio space with such energy, it is hard not to get wrapped up in the madness of it, throw your hands up and embrace it. Ultimately, Millennials is a whole lot of fun. Inventive staging, an incredible cast and some truly brilliant songs. This was a wonderful premiere for this show and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.
Millennials plays at The Other Palace Studio until August 7th. Tickets available here
Photos by Mark Senior