Next Thing You Know by Sedos
Next Thing You Know was not only a musical I had never seen before but a show that wasn’t even on my radar. It is by Joshua Salzman and Ryan Cunningham. It tells of 4 young people in New York who are trying to figure out life, with everything from relationships and work thrown into the mix. It looks at the reality v’s the dream.
The first thing that struck me about Sedos’ production of this show was the set design. This was by Dan Saunders, Adrian Hau, Andrew Laidlaw and Olly Levett. The moment you walk into the auditorium you are immersed into a fully working bar which becomes the focus of most of the action throughout the show and a place to buy a drink from during the interval. As the show unfolded so did the set, a wall of the bar moved simply to open out into an office and the upper wall was drawn down to reveal a bedroom. It was remarkably impressive, not only for its visual impact but for its effectiveness in keeping the pace of the show moving.
The central characters of Waverly, Lisa, Luke and Darren were played by Laura Ellis, Bobbi Mair, Chris Foxwell and Luke James Leahy. They all deserve praise for developing a clear character and ensuring the audience understood very clearly their struggles. On occasion I did feel as if both Lauara Ellis and Bobbi Mair were holding back vocally. They had undeniably strong voices but I just wanted them to lose themselves in the music a bit more at times. I did however particularly enjoy the friendship on display between these two characters, it was very natural.
Sedos also did well to work into an ensemble in a show originally designed for 4 people. Despite the fact that they didn’t deliver any lines or have any plot written in they all had identifiable characters and relationship with each other. In some shows this could run the risk of feeling shoehorned in but the addition of the ensemble helped make the bar feel more alive. A particular mention must go to bartender, Sarah Marks, who did a great job pouring drinks throughout the night for the cast.
Next Thing You Know was also given a slightly immersive twist with all of the characters available and around pre-show and at the interval to have a drink with, or even challenge to a game of darts! There are pointers in the programme but I won’t spoil the experience but it is a nice touch for this to be added in and really shows the attention to detail in this show.
I have to confess that the show itself did very little for me. This is not a reflection upon Sedos’ performance of it but I didn’t care enough about the characters and I struggled to understand why Waverly flitted so easily back to Darren and how Luke suddenly went from womaniser to a one woman man. In addition to this whilst there were several pleasant numbers there were no show stoppers or particularly moving songs. However it is a pleasant enough show and I;m glad to be able to tick it off my list.
Despite the mediocre material Sedos manage to do something special with it. An impressive set, a solid cast and imaginative immersive theatre made for a fun night out.
Next Thing You Know is running until Saturday 9th March at the Bridewell Theatre. To find out more visit their website.