Monday, 1 October 2007

Theatre Review: The Magic Treehouse

Hot on the heels of Mamma Mia! and We Will Rock You, musicals based on the works of Abba and 5ive, respectively, comes The Magic Treehouse, a musical based on the output of the prolific Britpop band, Ooberman. Written by Danny Baker and Salman Rushdie with help from Ooberman frontman Danny Popplewell, the play is certain to become a hit with the millions of Ooberman fans out there, as well as members of the general public who don't like Ooberman because they're a bit wimpy.

The Magic Treehouse follows the misadventures of Jeremy Cock-For-A-Chin, a poor boy who 'Had a cock where his chin should have been'. It's truly gripping stuff. From the opening song, 'Sugar Bum', in which he is introduced by his lover, Jenny Sugar-For-A-Bum (who later dies at the hand of a gang of ants) to the last song, 'The Beauty of Your Soul', in which Jeremy finds acceptance and friendship by the Uberman (a God figure), the story rolls around in a cacophonic bellyhurt of wonderyay. And, of course, part of this wonderyay is the music of Ooberman, who formed in 1997.

Ooberman's music has been loved by all the generations that have come since their Shorley Wall E.P. graced the shelves of independant record shops everywhere in 1999. And the title track from that song is well used in the musical, following Jenny Sugar-For-A-Bum as she goes to the seaside and is attacked by a spoon-wielding Elton John impersonator. Indeed, this part of the show was so emotional that some of the other audience members were forced to walk out at this point. I wept so much that I had to discard my notebook, as it was covered in salt.

The story itself is amazing, and I'm especially impressed at how the writers have adapted all of Ooberman's best loved songs to fit the tale. Even Beany Bean, with its refrain of "Beany beany beany beany beany bean" shows up here, and the lyrics really do come to life in the story. Indeed, I was left aghast by the life lessons that I learned during this section.

All in all, The Magic Treehouse is the best musical I've ever seen, and I've seen at least eight. Or nine if you count that one with the cats. What was that called? Oh! And I've seen the episode of Buffy when they're all singing (it's because of Dawn) so I've seen ten. And this is best. Except for the one with the cats.

The Magic Treehouse is being shown somewhere in Bromsgrove. Ooberman will be playing student-infested shitpits all year, which is a shame because Shorley Wall really was a great song. I think it was called 'Cats', by the way. Or 'Miss Saigon'.

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