Benet Catty Productions

Fresher The Musical - Edinburgh 2011

Aug 12, 2011

Whatsonstage ***

Resolutely in the Spelling Bee style, this boisterously juvenile musical comedy about a bunch of freshers arriving at university briskly embraces every student cliche.

The posh chap (inevitably called Rupert) calls things “ripping”; the gay boy earnestly sings “I am more than a label”; one girl’s a narcissist; another takes anxiety pills; and the alpha-lad doesn’t get any. “There’s more to me than they see” sing the ensemble - well, not really.

Mark Aspinall’s songs have funky hooks, pleasing harmonies and Stephen Schwartz-y accompaniments aplenty, linked with a glut of glissandos and vamp-til-readies. Fewer anal sex references (is this really all students talk about?), more of a sense that the characters have lives outside their student halls (families? studies?) and less excessive amplification might have helped.

The capacity audience had a ball, though.
Given the amount of drink, sex and bitchiness which make up what the cast sing are the “best years of our lives”, one doubts that these students would progress beyond their first year. Fresher scrapes through with its confidence but, one feels, could do better.

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