Sunday, June 23

Your Flaws: The Musical – Unity Theatre

This fifty-minute whirlwind came as part of the Liverpool Improvisation Festival, which might look to become an annual event for the Unity theatre, following its launch last year.

Alongside Patrick Clopon on the piano, Lee Apsey and Emma Wessleus explained their ‘flaws’, distastes and aversions, and invited us to share our own. As we admitted to being afraid of a range of kitchen devices (i.e. potato peelers, sieves, blenders) and taking umbrage with food combinations (i.e. mint and chocolate), the piano began to twinkle… Engaging with the audience’s culinary offers, the trio embarked on a journey through a haunted restaurant with all characters gifted with strange fears and desires which echoed our flaws back to us. We watch the tortured head chef fight for his Michelin star, a chef loses her hand to a blender, and the sous chef fall in love with a frequent diner. A highlight includes the absurd storyline of the head chef falling in love with his stool (as in a chair, not bowel movement), which led to a big musical number.

With regards to the music, the only sound came from the live piano, with both the score and the sound effects coming from Clopon on the keys. Here, Clopon is deserving of a special mention for his ability to read the bodies of his counterparts and whisk up these sound effects quickly enough to add a clownish air to their actions. The tech team also deserves a nod for their quick-thinking cues; for example, illuminating Apsey as Michelin Man with an instant spotlight of stars. The imagery that Apsey and Wessleus evoked in their improvised dialogue was effective in inviting the audience into the environment of the joke; I felt hunched up in the cellar with the characters, I could see the utensils dotted around them. Of course, the imagery was coupled with quick-fire comedy! There was a brilliant and sharp routine about what classes as creepy when trying to be tactical in romantic approaches, and another centred on trap doors which seized my lungs and kept me laughing line after line.

There were a couple of moments in which our two singers both reached for the gun (Chicago fans, you’re welcome) in the sense that they spoke over one another to control the story’s course. These moments, along with a couple of hesitations, were recognised by the performers and became giggle-fodder for the audience. Engrossed in the story, we forgave them in exchange for more foolish frivolity. In fact, the show ended with the audience singing along to the closing number. I’m positive that I wasn’t the only person leaving with my face hurting from laughing. This comic trio is worth keeping your eyes on!

Reviewer: Eleanor Hall

Reviewed: 19th April 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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