Wild About You
Rating: 3.5/5
Venue: Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London
Cast: Eric McCormack, Rachel Tucker, Todrick Hall, Jamie Muscato, Oliver Tompsett and Tori Allen Martin 

When Olivia finds herself in the hospital with limited memory, she must dig through her messy past to figure out which of the loves of her life is her emergency contact, only to understand that her desire to make everyone happy has left no one happy. Through a series of realisations, she reclaims her right to be flawed and loved in all her human complexity. However, as she regains clarity, tragedy strikes, but that’s when Olivia literally moves Heaven and Earth to reconnect with her greatest love – her son.

One thing is for certain: we are WILD about Rachel Tucker after seeing her as Liv in the exciting world premiere of Wild About You. Written by award-winning Chilina Kennedy and Eric Holmes, the star-studded concert took over the stage of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane for two nights only.

The show tells the story of Olivia as she tries to piece her past together from fragmented memories and old texts and emails on her phone, all with the help of Nurse Shae (Todrick Hall). In this journey, we are introduced to the people most important to her, Michael (played by Eric McCormack of Will & Grace fame) and Thomas (Oliver Tompsett). But there's something else, something very important she can't seem to remember...

Wild About You sits right in the intersection of Next to Normal and Ghost, with a generous serving of humour; at times dark, at times light-hearted, but always effective. Because the show takes on a Christmas Carol-esque format with time jumps, helping the audience find their way around the timeline is crucial and and the production design does this very successfully. I particularly liked the lighting design, and at one point the very obvious "bisexual lighting" used to highlight Olivia's awakening to a dormant part of her identity. 

In terms of the score, the title song has that earworm quality that's the hallmark of shows that grow to become cult pieces. Unfortunately, there's not much to say for the rest. They were enjoyable and worked well within the narrative, but there was nothing ground-breaking about them. What elevated them in this concert was the wonderfully talented cast performing them.

Jamie Muscato (a late arrival to the show, appearing in only the second act) is undeniably able to work magic in whatever role he's given, and his vocals, as usual, brought the house down. His duet with Rachel Tucker has more than one audience member wiping a tear away. That being said, Muscato is now in his 30's and trying to characterise him as an 18 year old was probably not the best idea (regardless of how much we love him here on Stage to Page!).

The seed of a truly wonderful show is here, but it needs more work, particularly on the book front. It was a bit disjointed, to the point it felt like we had seen two different shows from act one to act two. I'm not opposed to to the subversion of expectations, but more could to done to both halves of the show to help it into one cohesive piece. 

Eric McCormack brought all of his Hollywood charisma, and then some onto the stage. Unfortunately, it seemed as though London welcomed him with a cold which meant we couldn't hear him at his best from the concept album, released last November. We can infer what a great shame that is. Regardless, his Michael was perfectly detestable, and his chemistry with anyone he shared a scene with was a sight to behold.

I saw Oliver Tompsett as Shakespeare in & Juliet a few years ago, and he has somehow reached a new level of charm and artistry since them. As Thomas, he was - as Liv and Nurse Shae say - intoxicating. The true surprise was Tori Allen-Martin, her comedic timing, her bad-ass girl energy and vocals. I'll make sure to keep an eye out for her future projects, because seeing her on stage was an absolute pleasure.

The future looks bright for this show, and I'm sure we'll see it back on the West End before long.

Review by Luma

**photo credit to Mark Senior**

No comments