Laurence Owen: Cinemusical
It’s difficult to put into words just how marvelously, stupendously good Cinemusical is. You could look up brilliant in the thesaurus and get some alternatives. While you’re there you could check out mega-talented in order to find a few more superlatives to describe its creator and sole performer Laurence Owen.
I first saw Laurence accompanying David Mills in his show Don’t Get Any Ideas (well recommended) and thought if he’s good enough for David Mills…
Cinemusical is a stroke-of-genius idea – condense the major themes of popular cinema into an hour, add a very clever pastiche soundtrack and throw in a handful of deconstructed character-types who all go on a life-affirming Wizard-of-Oz-type journey. Oh – and provide excellent live vocals by way of narration. Sounds ambitious? You bet! In the hands of an amateur it could be a disaster but instead it’s a triumph.
As well as Laurence’s undoubted musical talent his love and knowledge of the cinema radiates throughout the show. Lazy stereotypes are mocked with each of the characters – fairy tale princess/queen, cowboy, cartoon bird sidekick and Bond villain/henchman – all being given their own beautifully observed and witty back-story. Particularly good is the princess having to decide between three options for her cinematic fate – dotty old fairy godmother, sexy evil queen or tragic ingenue who dies in childbirth. And there’s also Ser-gay – the transgender henchman. Who’d have thought an exploration of gender politics could be so entertaining?
It’s clever, knowing stuff without ever getting arch thanks to Laurence imbuing his performance with infectious joy and energy. Even if you don’t get all the cinematic references – it’s packed full of them – you’ll be carried along on the staggeringly entertaining journey. And of course you could always go back for a second viewing… as many others have already. A must-see.