You may not have heard of Now. Here. This. before. It is a little known show that ran off-Broadway in 2012 and is from the same team who created [title of show] - a digital production of which is coming out in November with a stellar cast. I too had never heard of this show but am always up for discovering new musicals so happily went along to see what it was all about.
The show describes itself as a musical searching for the answers to life's big questions by exploring the birds, bees, reptiles, trees, dinosaurs, illiteracy, hoarding, middle school, first love, fashion, and much, much more. A strange concept with a timespan lasting billions of years, they achieve this unusual narrative by placing the action in a museum. The four characters interact with each other and draw comparisons with issues they are facing in their lives with the exhibits in front of them be it turtles, volcanoes or, indeed, dinosaurs. The results are a mixed bag, often comedic, sometimes even moving.
The cast consists of Ash Weir, Griffin Jenkins, Matthew Westrope and Ruby Lyon - four highly talented performers with varying degrees of experience. They interact with eachother well, exhibiting a great amount of chemistry and a real believability in their genuine friendship. There is some character development, but more could be added to make you fall in love with these fantastic characters. A standout performance on the night comes from Ash Weir who showcases amazing versatility in the journey she goes through as a character.
The themes of the show are relevant today. The big question "How did I get here?" can be likened to the history of man, our lives so far, but more currently it relates to this challenge of a year which has left so many of us perplexed. The constant battle in the shoe between the fantasy world and reality is extremely relatable. If it takes looking at turtles to help us understand what's going on right now, why the Hell not?
Another theme in the show is acceptance, with characters talking about their struggles growing up with their own identities. A theme which is very much at the forefront of todays society, seeing the characters look back into their past and help it shape a brighter future is heartwarming to see.
The songs themselves were a mixed affair. One of the standouts was the song 'Dazzle camouflage' talks about accepting your true self, and any song with "Dazzle" in the title is always going to be a highlight for me. The biggest numbers in the show are 'Then Comes You' and 'This Time' - a gorgeous 11 o clock number.
The show lends itself to a lighthearted theme while the topics on hand are deeper than meets the eye. One incredibly moving moment seemingly comes out of nowhere where the characters talk about losing their grandmothers - one of the best bits of acting through the whole show if not slightly disjointed with what had come before.
Overall, this was a fun little show to watch. With some great songs and fantastic performances from an incredibly talented cast. In a year where live theatre has been few and far between, seeing any new work is going to be great, no matter how fantastic the show is.
You can catch Now. Here. This concluding its London tour with dates at Ram Jam Records in Kingston from November 3rd - 8th. Tickets are available from https://www.ramjamrecords.co.uk/theatre