No Limits - A Song Cycle
Rating: ★★★★
Venue: The Turbine Theatre, London 
Cast: Natalie May Paris, Owen Clayton, Hannah Lowther, Michael Mather, Mary Moore and Saffi Needham (swing)

Produced by Sam Caldwell for Paper House Productions, No Limits shatters the notion of falling behind in life – because there’s really no such thing. It follows a variety of characters, from every walk of life as they dare to believe in themselves and strive for a better tomorrow. A show with heart, humour, LGBTQ+ stories and a message we should all take on board... “Know no limits!”

Song cycles are difficult to get right, and my only previous experience of them was when I went to see Millennials last year. They're tricky to get right because it's difficult to connect with a character and a story in around 3 minutes. And it's also difficult to share a snapshot of a story worth telling in such a short space of time, but No Limits manages to achieve that. While there were some stories I cared for more than others, I think that's the beauty of this show.

One of my favourite aspects of the show is the diversity of the stories and the characters. Standout songs for me were the story of an expectant mother who had lost her own, performed by Saffi Needham (the role usually played by Natalie Paris); which was both heartfelt and heart-breaking, and the story of a girlfriend recovering from a breakup from her boyfriend of 5 years. Not only was it relatable, but the vocals from Hannah Lowther were outstanding. And a song that mentions both Grey's Anatomy and Taylor Swift is a win from me!

More uplifting songs were the duo song between the wife and the mistress of the husband. It was empowering, badass and above all, hilarious. However, the most outstanding song of the evening for me was "A Little Bit Kinky", which kick-started act two. It was so much fun, and the use of props was fantastic.

This song cycle reminded me very much of Millennials. Not just because of the song cycle aspect of the show, but also because of the age it seems to be aimed at, and also the topics they're tackling within the show. The worry of feeling like everyone is winning at life but yourself, as you scroll aimlessly through social media. And how hard it is to compare yourself to others is so relevant and profound

The staging was simplistic, but effective. For example, the use of props and the subtle changing of furniture worked well. I would love to see the production on a bigger stage with evolving sets, but in such a small theatre, that obviously isn't possible. However, with the space they had, it was impressive

My only criticism would be that there were too many songs, and to focus on quality rather than quantity would aid the show. Even if this meant shortening the 90 minute production, I think it would really help the audience to connect to the show further. 

The entire cast were outstanding and I don't feel as though anyone shone brighter than the rest, which is a testament to how talented they all are. You'll be sure to connect to at least one story from the show, which is the pure beauty of it. I truly hope we get to see more of this song cycle on stage in the future.

Book tickets to see No Limits - A Song Cycle at The Turbine Theatre, here.

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