Jubilee is a satirical musical written about the life of the Royals just a few days before the king’s Jubilee celebrations. The Royals are bored and tired of their ‘royal’ existence, the princess, the prince, the king and the queen all wish their lives had that extra element of excitement; an excitement and a spontaneity that a true member of the British royal family can never experience.
So, the royal family decide that on route to an estate they are to stay at, the royals are going to actually do what they want to do- every member of the family go their separate ways, and all of them find that lust for life that was lost on them.
When I arrived at the Tabard Theatre in the Turnham Green area, I was surprised to find this quaint little theatre directly above a pub, the atmosphere was relaxed and excitable- and the musical that I watched was equally as excitable. I’m always a bit hesitant to go see fringe musicals, as the nature of the musical is big money, elaborate sets, full bands and expensive colour costumes- all of these things a fringe theatre cannot bring to the table.
However, musicals require a strong ensemble, hard work/dedication, and very energetic performers. Jubilee at the Tabard gave the spectators all the necessary dedication and energy, creating a performance that was wonderfully funny, and almost warming to watch.
This performance was a labour of love, and with the love from the production team and cast, they pulled off the performance beautifully. I had a wonderful time- I would recommend it as a piece of theatre to take your partner (assuming you have a bit of money to spend, as tickets are an extortionate £18, you can see a West End musical for £20- but you should support fringe theatre!).
Now saying all that, the technique from the performers isn’t always perfect; the acting needs tinkering from most of the cast, especially from the younger members. The King and Queen are really great, well rounded performers whose characters truly come to life. But, there were a lot of performers who, instead of simply thinking/doing on stage, were pretending to think/do on stage and becoming massively over the top, which creates a kind of ‘thin’ performance (most inexperienced musical performers will think this kind of acting is ‘the musical way’ so a serious lack of respect in the acting occurs).
The directing is light and simple, the choreography is fitting for the space. The company singing needs to be a bit more honed as most of the time you can hear 1 or 2 of the constantly belting singers over 5 or 6 of the more appropriately balanced ensemble singers- this problem usually means there is a strong arrogance from the belters, but I think the problem in this case is the lack of preparation from some of the less confident singers for which the belters are trying to compensate- they don’t need to. As the space is so small, you can hear a pin fall, and the actors arguing back stage.
I think this performance has legs, but is in a very early stage of it’s development. Personally, I think this play is a shoe in for a West End run if this company finds real financial backing, the content is extremely topical, fun, funny and it ticks all the West End musical prerequisites. I have no idea if Almost Normal Ltd has plans to find serious funders and develop this piece more fully, suiting it for a run on the West End, but I do know that I would wait and see, because the price of the tickets for this piece is far far too expensive for the labour of love that you will witness. Shame, I would have liked to have recommend this piece.
Performed at the Tabard Theatre until the 21st of July.