As news breaks today that I Can’t Sing is closing on 10th May, there is another musical about fame hungry singers in town. Starting out life as The Golden Voice last year, but cancelled due to funding issues, Nick Fogarty’s musical about love, determination and betrayal, is back as Best of Friends.
Mike Chariot (Aidan O’Neill) leaves his girlfriend Natalie (Rosie Glossop), best friend Jim (Nick Fogarty) and his band Falling Stars, to enter (and win) reality TV show Face and Voice. He soon realises that he is just a puppet and fame is not all it’s cracked up to be.
Years later, Mike returns home to find that Jim has descended into a life of crime and Natalie has moved away from London. He sets up Falling Stars to help talented young musicians, but his past soon catches up with him.
There seems to be no end to the talents of Nick Fogarty, penning book, music and lyrics for Best of Friends and also taking on the role of Jim Ryan. He is one of the strongest actors in the production and his portrayal of Jim is scarily believable.
Aidan O’Neill is a strong lead with a cheeky charm and lovely smile and his characterisation of Mike comes across well. Rosie Glossop is surprisingly believable as Taylor’s mother and she has one of the best voices in the production.
Alex James Ellison (Taylor Jones) wouldn’t look out of place in a boy band and has a sweet charisma and voice that suits his character, although he is less confident on the guitar. Sarah Goggin (Jodie) complements him nicely, although it would have been nice to find out more about her character.
Best of Friends is possibly the best attempt at a musical about reality TV shows, but it is just a bit too safe. A few of the characters have stories to tell, but we never actually find out their secrets. What happened to Jodie when she was younger and who is her mother? How did Mike end up in London and who did he live with after his parents died?
Songs themselves are well-written and enjoyable, particularly Falling Stars and Good Morning Day, but considering the dark, gritty nature of the story itself, some of them are too nice. However, with a bit of tweaking so that the music reflects the story, this could be a really good production.
Reviewed by Michaela Clement-Hayes
Best of Friends plays at the Landor Theatre until 10 May 2014. Click here for more information and to book tickets.