Tasting Notes @ Southwark Playhouse*

Rating: 4/5
Running until: 27th August 2022
Ticket link: https://www.southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/the-little/tasting-notes/https://www.southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/the-little/tasting-notes/

Tasting Notes takes place in LJ’s, a wine bar located in South London over the course of a random 24 hours. Throughout the piece, we see the lives of LJ, her staff and one of her regular customers’ perspectives of this same day. Despite a very bizarre plot twist at the end, I found this to be a rather enjoyable new musical.

Because we are reliving the same day over and over again across the 6 perspectives, it could be quite easy to be incredibly repetitive. But I thought there were some really nice moments that ensured each perspective was unique. Not just from Charlie Ryall’s book but in some cases, the way an actor delivered a particular line or where they were standing in one scene. I thought this was such an interesting use of the space, given how little The Little is and that’s a testament to the brilliant direction from Shelley Williams. The only time I thought this didn’t work was in the costumes department, because it became really blurry perspective wise. Because surely one wouldn’t be wearing a bright floral shirt and denim shorts when working in a wine bar?

The overall score by Charlie Ryall and Richard Baker is really strong and feels very much like musical theatre today. I was particularly fond of the entire song about how great cats were. It was also good to have a minimalist band as the sound in the Little space isn’t always favourable to musicals and at least we were able to hear the performers clearly. But I did find the ending to be absolutely bizarre, there was no real lead into this and also felt very out of character. Other than that, I enjoyed the way the perspectives often intersected and helped enhance each other’s stories. All 6 performers are excellent and have a great dynamic amongst them that’s pleasurable to watch.

I pleasantly enjoyed this production and it’s always good to see new British musicals be given a platform. I do hope this one has a further life, but I do think tweaks are needed to make this even better. Particularly in terms of plot.

Until next time,

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