Fresher The Musical @ Pleasance Dome

It's University - where you can start again and be who you want to be

Article by Antony Sammeroff | 08 Aug 2011
  • Fresher: The Musical

Four eager teens, driven by their own insecurities over whether or not they will fit in, enter into a friendship of convenience at their uni-halls. It's a familiar scene: perhaps these chums would seem misfitted meeting elsewhere but a little familiarity ignites that wonderful spirit we call companionship.

Fresher received rave reviews last year at the Fringe and it's not hard to see why. From the moment the exciting overture bursts in we're involved: independent vocal lines intersperse over rocky piano chords which then give way to flowing melodies and subtle underscoring. The characters show a depth of insight which is rare in the comic musical and their relationships connotate so much subtle context. The script (by Sally Torodé) is teeming with life.

Rupert's song, “How I'd love her if only she were mine" flawlessly captures that innocent infatuation of a lonely youth which seeks a partner to worship if only to edify the lovers’ self-worth. Another great musical device has one character speaking to another while the listener sings their internal dialogue before the two swap roles.

Paulden Productions have really raised their game this year. Said producer Matt Levinthall, "We've done a full rework: it's tighter, slicker. We have a new musical director, and choreographer who is Shit-Hot! We've also been really lucky with the new cast!" Indeed the cast are made for their roles. Natalie Bush gives a particularly nuanced performance as the capricious Ally, with great timing and facial expressions, and Alexis Gerrard makes a real archetype out of Tuc, the "2 kool 4 skool" tough guy.

"It's about fronts," Matt continues, "Everyone has had the experience of having to meet new people for the first time and trying to make a good impression... It's about how those people interact." From the love concerns, the morose insecurity of Hayley, Basil's dilemma over making his secret known, the treat-her-mean-keep-her-keen tactics of Tuc and hip-hop vernacular of Rupert when he's playing up - Fresher is a modern gem of contemporary musical theatre.

Pleasance Dome 3-29th August