When it was first announced that Be More Chill would be opening at The Other Palace, the news was met with great anticipation from its fans on this side of the pond. With more than 350 million people streaming the original cast recording, it is a show that clearly has a huge following and has already achieved a cult like status. The pressure was on for this production to deliver, and it really did.
Be More Chill tells the story of Jeremy, played by Scott Folan, a teen loser who just wants to survive high school. He learns about a special pill that contains a micro-computer (a Squip). Once taken it promises to improve his life, help him learn to be cool and help him to win the affections of Christine, the girl who he has been pining after, played by Miracle Chance.
From the second the lights came up at the start of the show, the energy was incredible. The excitement from the actors was infectious and quickly spread across the audience. Songs and dances were performed with such gusto, it was hard not to smile throughout the entire show.
Blake Patrick Anderson’s Michael is warm, funny and likeable and his rendition of ‘Michael in the Bathroom’ more than lives up to the original while Stewart Clarke oozes sex appeal in his role as the Squip.
Millie O’Connell’s take on mean girl Chloe was nothing short of hilarious. Her comedic timing was flawless and helped create one of the more memorable characters. Renée Lamb took full advantage of her turn as the lead in one of the songs, creating one of the best moments of the show.
However, it is hard to pick a standout performance as every member of the cast did an amazing job. Even though there was a main character, Be More Chill doesn’t rely solely on its leads, instead allowing every performer to have a pivotal role in the show. This possibly is also part of the reason for the incredible levels of energy, as clearly everyone on stage was giving their absolute all to their performance.
A videogame theme runs throughout the show, apparent in the sound effects and even in the choreography. Projections serve as a wireframe style backdrop, seamlessly flowing between different scenes. Joe Iconis’ songs are memorable and catchy; the aforementioned ‘Michael in the Bathroom’ probably being the best known of these, although ‘The Smartphone Hour’ was definitely a highlight.
In a word, this show is brilliant. It is a celebration of being young and being different and is bound to leave a smile on your face. If you haven’t already booked tickets, I would implore you to buy them quickly and go and see the show!
Reviewed by Stephanie Mansell