Review: I WISH MY LIFE WERE LIKE A MUSICAL

 

Photo credit: Rod Penn

Tickets: Gifted

Date: 31st August 2023 

Seat: H16 

Rating: 5 Stars

Who among us hasn't wistfully wished our lives were like a musical when we're sitting in a theatre, gazing up at the stage? I know I have, and I'm pretty sure I can't be the only one, otherwise I Wish My Life Were Like A Musical wouldn't exist. 


It's a good thing it does. 


Written by Alexander S. Bermange (who also appears on stage playing the piano – the only instrument used throughout across 16 songs in a rapid 70-minute runtime) and directed and choreographed by Matthew Parker, this short show is an ode not just to musicals, but to those who love them, from excited theatregoer to 'super fan', as well as the performers themselves. 


I Wish My Life Were Like A Musical starts as it means to go on, with the cast of Jennifer Caldwell, Julie Yammanee, Sev Keoshgerian, and Rhidian Marc donning glitzy gold waistcoats and high-kicking across the stage. This is, aptly, 'The Opening Number', and it's a fun, sparkly, pun-filled song about just that – the opening number of a musical. But these songs delve deep, and there's always an underlying (and perfectly understandable) message for those listening for it. Plus, there are a ton of musical theatre references from Les Mis to Jesus Christ Superstar to Wicked to Mamma Mia… the list goes on, and they're a fun little Easter egg whenever they pop up. 


Photo credit: Rod Penn



The entire cast is a collection of talent – they're funny, entertaining, and authentic as they capture the journey all theatre performers go through, including auditions, hating your co-star, having to deal with (or be) the diva, permanently being a standby, and so on. This show is about the highs and lows of being a musical theatre performer, and it's self-deprecating to a hilarious degree but never self-indulgent. 


The songs run the gamut from chorus numbers to powerful solos to catchy storytelling, each adding a little extra pizazz and joy to proceedings. Highlights for me include a reference to singing with Russell Crowe, a song about a dramatic diva (with a rather Norma Desmond-like appearance), and a fun number about hiding the fact that you're a musical theatre fan, although every tune was a gem. 

The feeling I came away with after watching I Wish My Life Were Like A Musical was that I – as a musical theatre super fan myself – had been seen. I'd been acknowledged. And I wasn't on my own. There's a lot to be said for that. 


I Wish My Life Were Like A Musical runs at Wilton's Music Hall until 9th September 2023. Tickets are available here: https://www.wiltons.org.uk/whatson/804-i-wish-my-life-were-like-a-musical

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