Be More Chill at The Other Palace

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Be More Chill through one lens could be described as your typical transformation show: geek loves girl and does what he can to get popular and win the girl until he discovers his original self was far more appealing. However you then add in a squip, a supercomputer from Japan that takes over your brain in order to make you into what you thought you wanted to be. Then add in that the squip has other ideas for itself, then the story may be rather different from a normal transformation show.

This show certainty knows it’s audience and has been a huge success in the US as a result. The show is set in a US High School packed full of stereotypes from jocks, to the popular girls to the geeks who like videos games. As a result of lot of jokes stem from these stereotypes and in Act 1 when more time is spent playing on these stereotypes I felt that I had seen a lot of it before. However when the squip kicked in this is when the show really took off and Act 2 was far more out there but also far more enjoyable than Act 1.

The cast were all brilliantly suited to this type of show. Packed full of huge personalities each performer made sure that their character shone. Playing Jeremy was Scott Folan who through his body language and vocals was easily believable as someone who struggled socially at school. His best friend Michael was played by Blake Patrick Anderson whose performance of ‘Michael in the Bathroom’ was a highlight of the show. His vocals were stunning and heartfelt at the same time as keeping the humour within the song and not letting the energy of the show drop.

Talking of energy this is one of the strengths of the show, the energy is high octane and each cast member contributes to this. The trio of Millie O’Connell as Chloe, Renee Lamb as Jenna and Eloise Davies as Brooke epitomises this high energy approach. Between them they riff and dance their way through ‘Smartphone Hour,’ but it is their energy and comedic understanding that really sells this number.

Some of the music by Joe Iconis is clever and witty with one of two numbers being songs I could listen to on repeat all day, the aforementioned Michael in the Bathroom is one of them. Despite this other numbers drag and don’t quite have the comedy impact they were going for, ‘The Pants Song’ is one of these and others could be cut considerably and still drive the message home, ‘I Love Play Rehearsal’ is an example of this.

The show itself is visually stunning with clever and intricate projections providing the backdrop throughout the show. These projections designed by Alex Basco Koch took us from the locker hall at the school to inside the squip and everywhere in between. It wasn’t just the projections on the technical side of the show that were top notch, the sound design by Ryan Rumery was spot on and you could hear every word the cast were singing and saying. The costumes by Bobby Frederick Tilley II were also in keeping with the show, with the Halloween party being a real feast for the eyes and as wacky as the concept of the show itself.

Be More Chill may sound like your typical geek power musical but when you peer beneath the surface you get the squip….combine this intriguing plot point with a talented young cast, a huge amount of energy and some songs that are sure to make it into many rep folders, C-C-C-C’mon and get down to The Other Palace.

To find out more about Be More Chill and buy more tickets visit the show’s website.

If you like this review of Be More Chill you might also like my review for Six, Dear Evan Hansen and Eugenius.

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