"Paradise Rock is not lost"
by Sascha Cooper for remotegoat on 17/05/19

Paradise Rocks is based on Milton's epic poem 'Paradise Lost'. Reimagined as a rock n roll musical, clearly took influence from films such as Grease, Dirty Dancing and more to create something that was familiar, yet different from a lot of things the fringe has to offer.

Whilst this show was very entertaining, it has to be noted that there were some issues on the show I saw. For instance, set issues and a variation in vocal volume from some of the actors, plus some nerves showing from one or two of the younger members of the cast. It was clear that they were all professionals performance wise, but some of the more experienced ones seemed to drown out two cast members who couldn't be heard in the duets and group numbers. This was a shame and going forwards would suggest that a balance needs to be established with being too loud and too quiet - especially as there are no microphones for this musical, so people don't need to overcompensate for this. This was especially prominent in the first half, but when the second half occurred, the whole cast seemed to relax into things a lot more and whilst there were still loudness issues, they were not as obvious. Plus the young actress playing Eve seemed to find her stride more here.

However, having said all this, the show was certainly not 'lost' and was very enjoyable.

Simon Indelicate played our devilish rebel Danny Morningstar with such cheekiness and a good edge to his character, that he became an instantly likable character - especially when he led his gang into new territory after making a huge mistake to protect himself.

The reprobates included Julia Indelicate, Raphael Key, Romy Elliott, Angus Batteson and Lizzie Kroon. Between all of them, they showed their flare for not worrying about the rules or fitting in, plus three of them really showcased their instrument playing well. Have to say though that Julia Indelicate as Janey Blue really stood out as the strong woman who was clearly strong vocally and made her story engaging to watch.

Liam Murray Scott and Hazel Rogers teamed up as Adam and Eve. They were lovely together on stage, but this is the partnership which in particular needs to look at the volume issues to make them even better. Despite this, they both really brought their characters through well and Rogers needs to believe in herself as a performer more as she showed both vulnerability and strength. Her voice when she did relax into it shone.

The favourite partnership though had to be David Wynne and Chris Hodges as the team behind the Paradise resort. Both characters were not only funny, but had a darker edge to them that made the piece complete. Plus their duet in the second half raised the expectations of the show and really connected with each cast member well.

But it's Tobias Clay (the producer) who makes a small guest appearance that puts the icing on the cake. He adds the devilish experience of the bar tender as you walk in and adds the curiosity as to who the real devil is.

This is a show that will grow as things settle. The director Lex Lake should be proud of what has been achieved. It is great fun and a good way to switch off from a busy day.

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