I Could Use A Drink first appeared as a studio album released in Conceived by Drew Gasparini, it has now made its way across the pond for its UK premiere. Reimagined by producers Liam Gartland and Alex Conder as a concert production featuring a mix of West End stars and future talent.
Musical theatre songs told as a song cycle, rather than one linear narrative, I Could Use A Drink was written to celebrate the chaos and beauty of youth, speaking of different themes - some that will be all too familiar to us, no matter what age you are now, and some that might have not been something you have had to deal with yourself.
Simply filmed at Fiction Studios - a location that may be familiar to those of us who have witnessed our fair share of virtual productions over the past few months, there are no bells or whistles on display here. Instead, the focus lies firmly on the songs and the performers singing them. Such a minimalistic approach really allows the audience to pay attention solely to the concept, themes and lyrics of each different song. This allows each to resonate without distraction.
The seven performers on hand to tackle the topics in I Could Use A Drink are all on the same level, regardless of experience. A brilliant showcase for the talent in the West End, highlights include Luke Bayer's all too familiar 'A Little Bit' which speaks of the difficulties of coming out to your mum (I've been there!) and the always sensational Caroline Kay showcasing versatility in the beautiful 'What Remains' and the more angry 'Circus'.
Anyone lucky enough to see the Hope Mill production of RENT or the recent Matthew Harvey song cycle Now or Never will have surely been blown away by Ahmed Hamad - here he is again annihilating every song he is given in a way only he can. 'No Turning Back Now' was his standout moment for me, and had me imagining him playing Aaron Burr in a future cast of Hamilton. Definitely one to watch for the future. Hamad is reunited with his RENT co-star Tom Francis. As well as teaming up with Luke Bayer for the storming highlight 'Valley High', Francis gets a solo standout moment on 'Fell In Love With Crazy'.
Seeing these fabulous performers sing together is one of the biggest selling points of this show. Maiya Quansah-Breed teams up with Luke Bayer for 'You Can't Bring Me Down' while Billy Nevers and Caroline Kay perform potentially the best duet of the show with the rousing 'Overboard'. The cast is completed by 2020 Graduate Olivia Lallo who proves, particularly on 'Two Little Lines' that she is a name you will certainly be familiar with in the not too distant future.
The seven performers in I Could Use A Drink could quite honestly sing a cocktails list and it would be bound to be amazing. Fortunately for them, the material on hand in I Could Use A Drink pushes this to genius territory. A versatile mix of different genres, all with an underlying recognition of musical theatre, the songbook in this production is simply outstanding. Relatable lyrics with strong and instantly familiar melodies become the perfect background for these seven stars to do what they do best.
As virtual concerts go, I Could Use A Drink is one of the best. Mainly down to the performers and the phenomenal songs they lend their talents to, the simplicity in the setting and staging left me longing for more. This show has the potential to become something special - so sit back and enjoy the first sighting of I Could Use A Drink in the UK - one thing's for sure... it won't be the last!
I Could Use A Drink is available to stream until Sunday 16th May at https://www.stream.theatre/season/98