Singing the praises of musical comedy

Up on The Roof, by Simon Moore and Jane Prowse, New Wolsey Theatre, until May 22

SUMMER might still seem a long way off and what with ash clouds, Greek meltdowns and political maelstrom you may be feeling a little on the jaded side.

But if you want to regain a bit of equilibrium then the New Wolsey’s latest offering is just what you need to give you back that warm fuzzy feeling.

Up on the Roof follows the lives of five university friends from their farewell bash on the roof of a student terrace in Hull in 1975 via a church hall in December 1980 on the eve of a wedding to a French villa in 1985.

This is distinctly a play in three halves – each set is elaborately designed and the costumes and hairstyles change dramatically with each period.


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The first act concentrates very much on the friends’ hobby of singing a cappella hits of the time for their own amusement and these actors create a lovely laid back sound that really does justice to the distinctive rhythms of songs such as Never can say Goodbye, Stone in Love with You and Band of Gold.

The second and third acts feature more of the friends’ fortunes and changing circumstances as they go their separate ways, but the music still plays a significant role.

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All the characters were well drawn and although the pace was a little slow in places, the actors made you care about the lives of these people.

They all have a chance at a solo and each bring something different to the group. Gavin Spokes, as Keith, provides a lot of the humour and there is a little pathos in the relationships - but not too much to disturb the feeling of being relaxed and soothed to the strains of some of the best music to come out of the 70s and 80s.

If you had your teenage years in the 70s you will love this – even if you didn’t this is well worth a look for its feel good factor alone. I recommend you won’t be disappointed.

SUSAN HAWKES

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