If you’re looking for a creative team of infinite quality and a performer of prodigious talent (sometimes rare at The Fringe), then look no further than Richard Marsh and Jessica Sharman’s musical play, Phoenix.
Marsh and Sharman’s enviable track records include Marsh winning a Fringe First Award, a BBC Audio Drama Award, and a run in the West End with previous show Dirty Great Love Story, and in Sharman’s case, co-writing Ward Thomas’ record-breaking No.1. Country album Cartwheels.
This play is so much more than its simplistic blurb. It’s a big story in a small-sized show. On the face of it, it’s a tale of a wannabe rock star for whom fatherhood subsumes his hopes and dreams of stardom, but its themes are much greater than these few words, instead delivering a highly-relatable story of love and sacrifice.
There’s an elegant fluency to the writing, the beautifully constructed script has a completely developed story arc, fully rounded characters, all interwoven with some expertly crafted songs, and all packed into a 70-minute running time. The combination makes for an irresistible, gripping, funny, life-affirming show.
In a piece of master casting, multi-instrumentalist (guitar – electric and acoustic, keys, drums, looping) singer and actor Andy Gallo plays Ash, and proves to be a rare find. He manages to perfectly pitch the gamut of emotions required of this marvellously layered tale, all the while banging out tunes on a plethora of instruments and singing. He has the audience transfixed from the start.
This is an astute piece of theatre. Well thought out, cleverly crafted and refreshingly surprising. This is the perfect five-star start to this year’s Fringe.
Runs at The Pleasance 10 Dome Edinburgh
Aug 3-12, 14-26