[Note: This is another review that I was sent to but alas never got published. So I’m putting it up very late past press night despite the fact I was there because why let such uninspired dross go un-criticised? This show is still on until the weekend…I don’t know why I mention that because it’s awful.]
We’re promised ‘sun, sea, and laughs’ in this musical about two Mediterranean-serving airlines and their sparing ambitious air stewards. However, the result is about as invigorating and uncomfortable to pallet as a Ryanair sarnie.
Writer Terry Newman, despite previous television and stage works behind him, just can’t seem to make this musical fly. There is no sheen, little substance, and few laughs in a subject that has otherwise proven a gold mine of comic material from Pam Ann to Come Fly With Me.
Whilst never promising to be anything highbrow or ground-breaking at least there was the titillation of something kitsch and outrageous. But it even failed to deliver on that front too plumping for measured middle-of-the-road comedy rather than an overtly over the top affair. The music is utterly forgettable, the innuendos dull and obvious, the characters boringly pastiche, and the story shallow. Any potential this show had must have been left on the baggage carousel at Gatwick.
Whilst it is generally disingenuous to bemoan a fringe production for its lack of production values, here they really mar the show. The decision to have the entire cast share a single hand-held microphone seems inexplicable. Getting a sound balance between some amplified and some unamplified cast members was pretty much impossible as they sing to a backing track whilst passing the mic around, not to mention making the entire production looking and sounding like a cheap Costa del Sol karaoke bar. Then there are the sloppily executed lighting cues, shonky props, and crude set.
The only saving graces are a couple of genuine laughs, some energetic choreography from Thomas Michael Voss, and a charm from a talented cast who are clearly trying their best to prevent the show from nose-diving.
My advice? Take a theatrical staycation.
Mile High: The Musical runs at Lost Theatre, London, SW8 2JU, until 24th March 2013. Tickets are £10-£22. To book visit www.losttheatre.co.uk.