I was at home having just returned from the ADC and found myself quickly purchasing my copy of the BARE soundtrack. This exceptional musical examines the difficult relationship between faith and sexuality, portraying Jason (Ed Limb) torn between his love for Peter (Joe Pitts) and his desire to fit into his Catholic boarding school, and beyond that his community too. Their colleagues, though not troubled with their sexuality, have their own very real problems too. Nadia (Lucy Dickinson) feels like an underachiever when compared with her brother Jason, ‘A Quiet Night At Home’, symbolises this. Ivy (Kitty Sillars) faces stigma for her desires and her dress choice.

The most memorable songs were easily ‘You & I’, ‘Best Kept Secret’, ‘Portrait Of A Girl’, ‘Are You There?’, ‘Pilgrim’s Hands’  and ‘God Don’t Make No Trash’. However, the second half of ‘Wonderland’ felt unnecessary and lacked any real impact.

The performances on the night were stellar. Joe Pitts and Ed Limb make a spectacularly good duo with great chemistry, despite their performance imposing typical gender roles on homosexual relationships. Pitts is particularly endearing in ‘You & I’ where the boyish charm is simply overwhelming. Ed Limb gives a good performance throughout and shines especially in ‘Pilgrim’s Hands’ and ‘Bare’, revealing a much softer side that is impossible not to appreciate.

Sister Chantelle (Emily Murray) deserves great credit for her two breath-taking performances, in which we see character, attitude and real talent. These performances raise the quality of the whole musical.  Kitty Sillars and Lucy Dickinson give strong performances throughout, though Sillars was stronger in the second act and Dickinson stronger in the first. Overall, the vocals were strong and the music (Johannes Ruckstuhl and Joe Beighton) flawless.

The strength of the play continues backstage with an excellent producer and director (Emily Newton and Sarah Mercer) and noteworthy set design by Harry Stockwell.

Stellar – 10/10*

Hesham Mashhour (Get Real. Editor & Founder)

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