Best Of Friends – Review

Best Of Friends

The back story behind the creation of the stage musical Best Of Friends is every bit as melodramatic as anything already written for theatre.

Its creator and driving force, Nick Fogarty, risked his life savings to come up with a big budget show starring Darren Day, only for him to lose almost everything.

A change of name, a much reduced cast, and a fringe venue and his dream has finally become a reality.

You can’t deny the man’s enthusiasm and passion for this project. He even takes a major role in the cast as well as writing the music, book and lyrics.

Best Of Friends finally opened at the Landor Theatre, Clapham, on Saturday.

There’s a lot to like. Big performances by the cast of seven. Some very good songs. In fact I loved all the musical numbers.

But the major weak point is the weak, clich├ęd and predictable story.

I think pretty much everyone there knew exactly where it was going within the first couple of minutes.

Best Of Friends starts out with an ambitious young singer Mike Chariot deciding to take the express route to fame and fortune by winning a TV talent show.

The price he pays sees him turn his back on his old band, friends and his girlfriend in a Faustian pact with his new masters.

But he soon tires of the shallowness of fame and drops out, not seen again for 20 years.

When he does reappear he wants to give aspiring young singers a lift up and among those who audition for him is a talented young boy with boyband good looks – just like his dad.

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It’s a musical fairy tale, complete with a pantomime villain in the shape of Mike’s former singing partner, the dodgy Jim Ryan (Fogarty).

Aiden O’Neill, as Chariot and Alex James Ellison as the teenage upstart Taylor Jones, convince as singers with stars in their eyes while Rosie Glossop as Taylor’s mum (and Mike’s first love) Natalie gives an emotionally raw performance.

I have nothing but admiration for Fogarty in making Best Of Friends a reality but he needs to take a step back and consider a re-write before thinking of taking the show further.

Best Of Friends runs until May 10.

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