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Review: Oxy and the Morons, by Paul Sirett, Mike Peters and Steve Allan Jones, New Wolsey Theatre, until October 21

PUBLISHED: 13:43 18 October 2017 | UPDATED: 13:43 18 October 2017

Oxy and the Morons, by Paul Sirett, with music from Mike Peters and Steve Allen Jones, a new punk musical, being premiered at the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich. Photo: Mike Kwasniak

Oxy and the Morons, by Paul Sirett, with music from Mike Peters and Steve Allen Jones, a new punk musical, being premiered at the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich. Photo: Mike Kwasniak

www.mikekwasniak.co.uk

Oxy and the Morons, by Paul Sirett, Mike Peters and Steve Allan Jones, New Wolsey Theatre, until October 21

Oxy and the Morons, by Paul Sirett, with music from Mike Peters and Steve Allen Jones, a new punk musical, being premiered at the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich. Photo: Mike KwasniakOxy and the Morons, by Paul Sirett, with music from Mike Peters and Steve Allen Jones, a new punk musical, being premiered at the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich. Photo: Mike Kwasniak

When you are young, you believe that you will live forever. However, there comes a time when you are forced to confront your mortality. That knowledge can either crush you or free your spirit and give you the confidence to go out and live your dream.

Andy starts the play in a hospital consultation room. It’s not good news. Andy is 58 and he has leukaemia. Faced with the knowledge that he has a finite time left on this earth, he sets out to fill his remaining days living his life as he has always wanted to live it: reconnecting with his past, repairing rifts with family and friends and finally getting his old band Oxy and the Morons back together again.

Oxy and the Morons were a half-decent punk band that almost made it back in 1978 but self-destructed over jealousies and an unlikely cover of Tom Jones’ classic It’s Not Unusual. Now a retro-record label wants to put their unreleased album and for Andy it’s an opportunity to be Oxy again but there are still open wounds that need taking care of.

It’s a touching story, beautifully written by Paul Sirett, and touchingly played by a talented, well-chosen cast of actor-musicians. Rob Jarvis is hugely affecting as Andy in the present and the whole show revolves around his journey into his past.

Oxy and the Morons, by Paul Sirett, with music from Mike Peters and Steve Allen Jones, a new punk musical, being premiered at the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich. Photo: Mike KwasniakOxy and the Morons, by Paul Sirett, with music from Mike Peters and Steve Allen Jones, a new punk musical, being premiered at the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich. Photo: Mike Kwasniak

He has great support from Sean Kingsley as his brother and bandmate Brian, Mark Newnham is great as Andy’s younger self and Molly-Grace Cutler makes an impressive stage debut in dual roles as young Elizabeth and Andy’s daughter Sheena.

There is a real bond between the actors – in both young and old versions of the band – and this helps give the play a real sense of cohesion.

Peter Rowe directs this world premiere with great simplicity and sensitivity, keeping the action moving, letting the actors and the music tell the story. The stage is virtually bare except for a portable stage and the odd table and sofa which are brought on at key moments.

The first half has Andy in the present putting the old band back together with musical interludes provided by Oxy and the Morons in their heyday. The second half as the older Oxy and the Morons performing at their reunion gig while the dramatic sections of play show us exactly how it all went so drastically wrong.

The show is pitch perfect, the dozen new songs written by Mike Peters and Steve Allan Jones, are loud and memorable and a great time is guaranteed for all.

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