Jennifer Christie reviews All We Ever Wanted Was Everything by James Frewer and Luke Barnes now playing at the Bush Theatre.
All We Ever Wanted Was Everything
17 November 2018
All We Ever Wanted Was Everything is set across three decades, from 1997’s Cool Britannia to contemporary Brexit Britain. It has music by James Frewer, who is also the Musical Director, and was written by Luke Barnes. It is now at The Bush Theatre after a sell-out, award winning season at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival of 2017.
Gig theatre is the term coined for a fresh blend of story telling. Frewer says: The role of the music is to help communicate the story, to make the audience feel in a way that sometimes words can’t and to create the atmosphere of a gig. Its sets the era in which each particular act is in and acts as a voyeur, looking in and commenting on our story.
The idea is that the music and the storytelling cannot easily exist apart from each other. The blend works and the music and narrative together clearly define the timeline of the show and build tension in a satisfying arc and rapid pace.
The story is of the relationships between a mother and her son from one family and a father and daughter from another. They meet but go separate ways. It’s fascinating to watch the changes as the child becomes an adolescent and then adult. The parent fades in significance as the children grow. However what is astounding is the parenting of the 90’s with affirmations and expectations fermenting a sense of injustice in the offspring. They could not in fact have everything they wanted and realized that they were not as special as they had been told. The real generational anger of these 30 something year olds is that they have inherited a world that has been spoiled by their parents.
Although that’s a grim outlook there are plenty of lighter moments and the gig atmosphere softens the edges of the harsh reality whilst laying it all bare to see.
The performances are all solid. Each member of the ensemble cast cover at least one character whilst singing and playing a variety of instruments. Marc Graham is most often the Ringmaster, narrating bridges between the scenes and energizing the audience with panache. He seems to hold the strings of everything.
The only negative note in the performance was the role of the astroid. It was difficult to place the function of this role in the narrative especially since most of the lyrics here were lost in electric white noise.
All We Ever Wanted Was Everything is a 75 minute ride on a fast train. The content is insightful amidst a glorious mix of colour, light and most of all the music.
Until 24 November