On a wet and windy Saturday afternoon after an exhilarating trip on the river boat we found ourselves at Battersea PowerStation to visit a brand-new theatre in London: The Turbine Theatre. The theatre is located under the Grosvenor Bridge railway arches at Circus West Village. Currently showing their second production and first musical: High Fidelity based on the novel of the same name.
The original book was released in 1995 by author Nick Hornby. The main character is Rob Fleming, owner of Championship Vinyl a north London record shop. The book was made into a film in 2000, where the location changed from London’s Holloway Road to the Windy City of Chicago.
It was subsequently adapted for the stage as a musical, keeping the American setting it premiered on Broadway in 2006 but closed after thirteen performances. In this production composer and musician Vikki Stone has modified the lyrics and placed the story setting back to its North London roots.
Walking into the theatre the area is intimate (in fact you can sit on bean bags) and you are greeted by David Shields’ set, plastered with vinyl records. Shields’ has done a really good job with the set design, which must have been a bit of a challenge as the stage area is fairly small as you would expect from a cosy theatre like The Turbine.
Oliver Ormson (Addams Family) plays the main character of Rob, a total music snob who packages everything into a list comprising of his “top 5” from music to observations in life. At the start of the show, Rob is dumped by his on-off girlfriend Laura, getting him to mull over his life and create more lists. Rob’s two “friends” Dick and Barry are two guys who hang around the record shop and occasionally work there and appear equally arrogant with their music tastes and join in the constant top 5-ing of everything!
Having left Rob, Laura played by Shanay Holmes (Rent) moves in with Ian – a strange, hippy guru. We last saw Holmes play a brilliant Joanne in Rent and here she is excellent as the frustrated Laura.
The performances from every member of the cast are superb. Oliver Ormson is perfect as Rob, telling the story to the audience with a knowing wink. He has a good voice and great comic ability. Robert Tripolino (Jesus Christ Superstar) as Ian puts in a show stealing performance, it was great to see him on stage again after experiencing his unforgettable performance as Jesus at the Barbican. Carl Au (Jersey Boys) steals everyone’s hearts as sweet scouser Dick. In fact, all of the cast are superb with powerful voices that suit the energetic, melodious numbers and this musical allows each of them to have their moment in the spotlight.
High Fidelity has energetic choreography by Tom Jackson Greaves (Priscilla Queen of the desert – UK Tour) who also directs the piece utilising the small space to great advantage.
A great romp through every anxiety, insecurity and mistake you’ve ever made this show leaves you thinking about life and love.
High Fidelity is at The Turbine Theatre till 7th December 2019, see the website for further details and tickets.