Saturday, 17 November 2012

The In-Between (Concept Album)

This post is my review of a concept album for a yet-to-be-produced musical. There are seven songs on the album and it features some very talented, big-name West End stars, which is how I first heard about it. The lyrics are great and the music is quite modern and tinged with rock, as opposed to the more classical musical theatre sound that you can hear in Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera. The In-Between has been written by Laura Tisdale. She's come up with the story herself, has written all of the music and the lyrics, and is clearly very talented. Recently I discovered that I have a very, very loose connection to her! She's the sister-in-law of a friend of a friend. Yeah I know it's not much to boast about but I did say it was loose!

I love the story of The In-Between. It's about a 19 year old sarcastic misfit and underachiever called Flick Wimple who lives with her caring, well-meaning but neurotic older sister called Alice. Flick has been brought up by Alice ever since their parents were killed in a car crash, and Alice has had to be both an older sister and mother to Flick. Both Alice and Flick resent this responsibility and have a very strained relationship although they do love each other. One day, Flick goes through a wrong doorway and finds herself trapped between two parallel worlds; this place is known as the In-Between. There she is met by a mysterious if slightly geeky young man called Guide Calicus; who has spent his entire life leading people between the two worlds. Calicus then offers Flick the chance to leave her old life behind and journey with him to another world and, as Calicus leads Flick through the In-Between, the two of them form a close bond. However, not all is right in the In-Between. Other Guides are starting to go missing and tears are appearing in the walls...

The In-Between has a really interesting story and it's very different to anything that's currently on the West End. Firstly, because it's really not very often that you get musicals with fantasy/sci-fi themes. The only other examples that I can think of off the top of my head are The Wizard of Oz and Wicked. Secondly, because it's completely original. Musicals always seem to be adapted from other source material. For example: there are musicals that are based from events in the Bible (GodspellJoseph and the Amazing Technicolour DreamcoatJesus Christ Superstar). Les Mis, Phantom, Wicked and Oliver! are based on novels. My Fair Lady and Sweeney Todd are based on plays. Miss Saigon and Rent are based on operas. The Lion King, Billy Elliot, Hairspray and Spamalot are based on films. There's also the current trend for jukebox musicals (Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia!, Rock of Ages, Dreamboats and Petticoats, We Will Rock You and the upcoming Spice Girls musical). Anyway, I don't actually think there's anything wrong with adapting other works and I really love many of the musicals that I've mentioned. It's just really nice and refreshing to listen to something completely original for once.

I really, really hope that this musical makes it to the West End because it's original, it really deserves to and it has a huge amount of potential. I'd be very interested in seeing it should it make it to the West End, even more so if Hadley Fraser ends up starring in it! (he sings on one of the songs on the album) The songs on the album are all excellent too. There are three songs that I especially love. She's My Sister is a duet between Flick and Alice's characters and is a really fun, upbeat song with some very funny lyrics. It reminds me a little bit of the "What is this Feeling?" song from Wicked but it doesn't feel like a rip-off. Funnily enough the two singers on this song have actually been in Wicked. Alice's character is sung by Dianne Pilkington who played Glinda in that musical (she was in Wicked when I saw the show live two years ago and she was great). Flick's character is sung by Cassandra Compton who has played Nessarose in the show.

She's My Sister

Then there's When I Was Nineteen which has Alice looking back on her past. It's the most moving song on the album and is sung by Avenue Q star Julie Atherton. It's a beautiful song and Atherton puts so much emotion and feeling into it.

When I Was Nineteen

Beyond the Door is probably my favourite song on the album. It reminds me a bit of Danny Elfman in places and it's very dramatic and epic. Hadley Fraser gives a stunning performance too. He puts so much passion into it and it really shows off his vocal range. For a Baritone he can hit some really high notes! I love Hadley Fraser. He's become one of my favourite West End stars and I really hope that he gets to play Calicus if The In-Between makes it to the West End.

Beyond the Door

You can listen to the songs on YouTube, download the album for just over £5 on iTunes (as I did) and I believe you can get the album from Amazon as well. You can go on or too if you want more information about it. Come on people! Let's spread the word so some big West End backer puts this show on!

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