Writer: Adam Farrell, Martin McDowell and Rose Wardlaw
Music and Lyrics: Harry Zundel, Ollie Feather and Ronan Shiels
Director: Owen Petty
Reviewer: Lauren Humphreys
The Public Reviews Rating:
Be Fruitful and Multiply is billed as a light-hearted take on the story of creation and suggests that God and the Devil might not be the universe’s opposing forces but merely highly incompatible business partners. It substitutes a powerful multi-national company for God and tells the story of the “Company” as they embark on their latest business project – creating the earth.
The show claims to tackle fundamental issues such as choice and determinism whilst maintaining a comedic atmosphere. Mmm… not exactly the most obvious basis for a musical and treading the fine line between satirising religious belief and being just plain offensive requires a deft touch indeed. The writing is at times sharply witty, however the story lacks overall cohesion and the relationships between the characters isn’t always clearly defined.
The female characters are the standout performers. Of the male cast only Jamie Budgett (Addy) has the voice to fill the space, the others are seriously underpowered especially in the lower range. The baby-faced Adam Farrell (Sam) also lacks the requisite devilishness required of his role and the full effect of his words is often lost in a somewhat hesitant delivery.
The music is nothing new and has more than a hint of the familiar about it. That said there are some excellent songs here, in particular the standout One Call. The problem is that by and large they don’t fit the script into which they’ve been inserted, and in some cases the whole momentum of the storytelling is lost.
The fact this is a piece by multiple writers may be to blame for many of its shortcomings. The concept has huge potential and there are glimmers of some truly excellent songs but it’s definitely a work in progress needing to find a cohesive voice.
Runs until 27th August
Tags: 1945 Productions, Adam Farrell, Be Fruitful and Multiply, Bristol University Theatre Group, C Venues C, Comedy, Harry Zundell, Jamie Budgett, Martin McDowell, Musical Theatre, Ollie Feathers, Ronan Shiels, Rose Wardlaw