A brand new rock musical with a stellar cast, choreographed by a legend of the world of dance makes 27: Rise of a Falling Star at the Cockpit Theatre an attractive proposition, but sadly the show by Sam Cassidy never really finds its rhythm.
27 is the age at which many of the world’s biggest stars met with an untimely demise (Amy Winehouse, Janice Joplin, Jimi Hendrix to name a few) and with this in mind, the musical follows a wannabe rock star as he embarks on his journey to reach the dizzy heights of fame and fortune. With Greek mythology interwoven with Shakespeare, the story is very confused and takes itself far too seriously, which results in a morality tale without any real substance.
The other major problem is that the central character Orpheus, is completely unlikable, which means the audience don’t really care about his journey and when he eventually hops into an early grave, it’s actually quite a relief. Sadly, his death doesn’t mark the end of the show (although it should) and there is a bizarre scene set in the aftermath, which gives the musical a hugely anticlimactic finale.
Sam Cassidy’s direction is, at times, incomprehensible and some of the choreography, by Arlene Phillips is ill fitting, but there are some great performances from the vocally very strong cast including Ryan Molloy, who plays a delicious devil and a witchy trio, who light up the stage with every entrance.
The production’s saving grace is the music, which has echoes of 90s grunge mixed with classic 80s power ballads and includes some beautiful melodies and powerful lyrics. I wonder if the show would be better if it were fully sung, as the extremely weak dialogue never seems to move the story on.
27: Rise of a Falling Star has massive potential, but will need a lot of reworking in order to make it a hit show.
Photo: Ryan Malloy lights up the stage as a delicious devil.