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Departure Lounge The Musical

DEPARTURE LOUNGE: Why do we say gay, what really happened that Thursday evening on a pub crawl night out in Malaga and how can a picture book replace a family? Spotlight on a group of young school leaver Brits on tour stuck in a Spanish departure lounge due to flight delays. As their boozing and bonking boys’ holiday comes to an end and they anticipate their A-level results, JB, Pete, Jordan and R
Departure Lounge The Musical
By Dougal Irvine Venue: Waterloo East Theatre Until 31 October 2010 A hit at the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, this brand new compendium of hip and trendy adolescent moves and idioms (laced with the occasional “grown up” bits of insightful wisdom) is set in real time, running at a brisk 1 hour 30 minutes without interval. Composer and librettist Dougal Irvine originally hails from an acting background, as well as having completed a degree in psychology. Proving to be an expert musician, he makes a dashing appearance in the show donning a pilot’s uniform as one of the two guitar accompanists of the evening. The cast attacks the show like it is their last supper, convincing us to “get down with it” from the moment their sunburnt selves hit the basic but functional and effective set. Best known for his regular appearances in Channel 4’s Hollyoaks, Chris Fountain as alpha male group leader JB proves that he feels equally at home on a musical theatre stage, managing to balance some macho-filled character dialogue with a softer, more thoughtful side. Jack Shalloo as Pete is clearly very strong at comedy but he truly captures the audience when putting aside his energetic banter, giving a very convincing and raw performance with Picture Book. Liam Tamne as Jordan has only recently graduated from Laines, yet not surprisingly already has some veteran West End credits to his name. He possesses an almost frightfully high and well-placed tenor/falsetto voice that soars through the score like a well-controlled Louis Belson trumpet solo. Steven Webb as Ross almost steals the show with his rather held-back, yet feisty quipping interpretation of quiet studious softy of the group, Ross. Verity Rushworth successfully moves on from her longstanding character Donna in Granada’s Emmerdale, holding her own amongst the testosterone and making her song a stand-out part of the show. Despite some victorious solo performances, Departure Lounge remains very much an ensemble piece with the majority of the cast on stage almost the entire time. One highlight sees the actors coming out of character, taking on various accents and foreign performers to deliver airport staff announcements - Liam Tamne’s Spanish impersonation a particular winner. The freshly painted, recently opened Waterloo East Theatre is well suited to housing this quirky production, no doubt a venue to watch for the future of the fringe scene with its central location and rather versatile set up. With fun choreography, detailed direction and a contemporary pop-style score avoiding the “compilation boy-band” syndrome, Departure Lounge is certainly entertaining and double-entente ridden. It does remain to be seen however, whether this musical is quite ready for take off into the commercial theatre market and where it will land in terms of a target audience. For more information please see and


Tuesday 5 October, 2010

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