Review: Bridge Over Oblivion, by Charlie Pitman, Rhiannon Culley, Ashley Milne, Open Stages, New Wolsey Studio

Eastern Edge Theatre Company, set up by Charlie Pittman, rehearse new musical Bridge Over Oblivion.

Eastern Edge Theatre Company, set up by Charlie Pittman, rehearse new musical Bridge Over Oblivion. It's being staged at the New Wolsey Studion July 6-7. Photos: Contributed. - Credit: Archant

A brand new, full length musical written and performed entirely by local students sees its debut this evening at the New Wolsey Studio as part of the Open Stages season.

I can’t over state what an achievement this is for Charlie Pittman’s team, whose drive and determination have resulted in a musical with a lot of promise and some outstanding moments, songs and fabulous Musical Theatre choreography.

It’s 1960s New York and Sam (Charlie Pittman) is a piano playing songsmith with a tragic past. Katy (Evie White)sees his talent and introduces him to her Producer boyfriend. From this point on our story begins to unravel towards its tragic end via Some Like It Hot and Vietnam.

As a musical, this really does deliver some cracking tunes and wonderful vocal performances from Charlie Pittman, Evie White, Sam Brown and Charlotte Sheehan especially. The first big ensemble number, “Sign Away Your Soul” is a show stopper in the tradition of Guys and Dolls. Indeed, the look and style of the show is more 1950s Broadway in sensibility rather than mid 60s. And even though Sam and Katy reference Lennon and McCartney and Bob Dylan, song writer Sam’s own compositions are very contemporary sounding. Considering the emphasis on show-biz in the piece, I think the show would have benefited from some thoughtful referencing in the score in order give a much firmer sense and feel of time and place.

There is a real genuine attempt here to create relationships, situations and characters that offer more than traditional musicals often do. Evie White as Katy brings real depth and beautiful voice to a character that struggles to really understand her own behaviour and her talent. It would have been good to see more of Katy’s ‘talents’ as part of the plot to build more empathy for her and provide a much needed balance, believability and contrast to the central relationship which seemed to lose its way in the second half.

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Charlie Pittman and The Bridge to Oblivion are really going somewhere and I look forward to more from him and his new company Eastern Edge Theatre Company.

Jackie Montage

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