Reefer Madness by SEDOS
Reefer Madness by Kevin Murphy and Dan Studney, is a musical I have never come across before so when invited by SEDOS to review the show I jumped at the chance. The show tells of the downward spiral of Jimmy Harper, who under the influence of Jack Stone, becomes addicted to marijuana whilst his girlfriend May Lane, battles to find out what is causing this change in personality.
This musical is not one to be taken too seriously, or in fact seriously at all and is delivered with a firm tongue in the cheek. The staging of this was clever and every opportunity was used to give this show a comic book feel. The props, right from a piano to the book of Romeo & Juliet were all 2D cardboard cut outs and the costumes satirize the typical American characters you expect to see such as prom queen, jock, cheerleader, geek. This served to enhance the feel of the show and slotted in perfectly with the casts (deliberate) overacting. One mention on this front must go to Abbie Minnock who played Mary Lane whose overreactions to everything happening around her caused much hilarity – from her simple wide mouthed constant smile to her transformation once she was under the influence of the marijuana.
The rest of the cast also threw themselves into their roles and there is no room for shrinking violets in this show. The ensemble play everything from the aforementioned atypical American teenage characters, to angels and from marijuana leaves to Zombies and each time they lurch, smile or gyrate within an inch of their lives.
Other stand out cast members included Bradley Lloyd as Jack Stone and during some of the more bizarre moments was required to play Jesus. His comedic timing in the Jesus moments were hilarious and I found him stronger in these scene rather than the more sinister Jack Stone. Bradley is also a talented dancer and was partnered by the stunning Alexa Downey who showcased not only her dance skills but a huge array of glittery, short dresses throughout the show as the Placard Girl.
The choreography by Alice Bendall was clever and effective with many contrasting styles being thrown into the mix, which suited the variety of roles the ensemble were playing. It also made the most out of the stronger dancers in the company whilst keeping the steps simple enough for all to perform with flair.
The music to the show unfortunately does not have the same wit as other parody shows such as Book of Mormon and I would be hard pressed to hum you any of the songs, save for the ‘Reefer Madness’ refrain. However this being said SEDOS did all they could to eek as much out of each number as possible. Occasionally the backing vocals, especially when off stage, were a bit weaker and at times I struggled to hear a balance between the lead parts when they were all singing different things.
Reefer Madness is a fun musical which fans of shows such as Book of Mormon, Jerry Springer the Opera and Rocky Horror Show will enjoy. I applaud SEDOS for taking a risk and producing this little known show and encourage those who want to spend the night laughing at inappropriate jokes to get themselves along to the Bridewell.
Reefer Madness is on until 21st May at the Bridewell Theatre. Have a look here to find out more about SEDOS and their upcoming productions.