No Limits at Turbine Theatre
No Limits is a new song cycle by Sam Thomas, during which we meet numerous individuals making their way through life and reaching a moment of decision, from a woman catfishing her hot neighbour, to someone confessing their dream of wanting to become a rockstar and from an expectant mother who lost their own mum to someone who is desperate for their one night stand to call.
The cast is made up of Hannah Lower as #Catfish, Michael Mather as #Fighter, Mary Moore as #Funemployed, Owen Clayton as #Romantic and on the night I saw it Saffi Needham as #Dreamer (normally played by Natalie Paris). Whilst the characters played by the 5 varied greatly they all suited the characters they were playing.
Whilst the songs are unrelated the themes that the songs revolve around within No Limits have a lot in common. No Limits balances the feeling of dealing with your own life to the constant feeling (predominantly from social media) that everyone else around you has their life much more ‘together.’ They are inspired as they are predominantly situations which we are all familiar with and therefore we find it easy to relate to. This is also where much of the humour within the show is derived from.
Whilst most of the show has a strong comedic thread running through it there are more serious moments that touch on loss or heartbreak which means that the show steers itself away from being pure froth and strikes a nice balance of frivolity with emotion.
The show starts with ‘Everybody’s Winning At Life But Me,’ which sets the theme of the show from the outset. This number worked well as the opening, both in setting the shows overarching motif but in also getting all of the cast on stage together and showing just how rich the vocals can be when they perform together, something that rarely happens in No Limits. Other highlights were ‘One Night Stand’ sung by #Romantic and #Fighter where they share their shared fear of commitment. The choreography for this number was clever with the 2 of them performing the movement almost cheek to cheek but never quite touching. I also enjoyed #Funemployed and #Dreamer’s duet ‘Another Thing Comin’ in which they find out that their husband/boyfriend is cheating on them with the other and they decide to team up.
The staging by director Dean Johnson was very clever. Throughout the show it was rare for 2 of the actors have to interact on stage but during the times that they shared the space together the movement was intelligently staged so they could all use the space and the props whilst keeping the flow going. The set was also constructed so it looked as if we were inside someone’s flat which worked well for all of the numbers. I also like the screen positioned to the side of the stage which could flick from artwork in the home to an Instagram feed as the show required.
No Limits is a show with a clear theme running through it and the songs linking to this are everything from the raunchy to the emotional. Staged inventively and performed by a fresh cast No Limits is one of the strongest new song cycles I’ve seen in recent years.
No Limits is on at Turbine Theatre until 26th February. You can find out more and book tickets here.