Be More Chill - Review
“Be More Chill” was another victim of the pandemic. It started at The Other Palace but closed at the beginning of it’s run. So it’s great that it has another opportunity having a limited run at the Shaftesbury Theatre before “& Juliet” returns.
The story is set in a US high school with the shy unpopular kid Jeremy joining auditions for the school play to try and meet the girl of his dreams. As she starts hanging out with the popular people he learns of a new drug called the Squip which will make him popular. It turns out this is a computer that attaches to your brain and tells you everything you need to do in any situation. It’s a fun story and in many ways is reminiscent of “Eugenius”. If you liked that show then you’re sure to like this.
The staging of the show is very simple with minimal set. But they make a lot of use of a screen on the back of the stage. This is impressively used to set the scene multiple times but is also a great way to show how the Squip is working at times. This is one of the best use of video I’ve seen in theatre.
The cast perform the show well and there are some good voices but by far the stand out performance is from Blake Patrick Anderson as Michael Mell, Jeremy’s best friend. He had the most well-defined characterisation and was able to steal the show with the most famous song “Michael in the Bathroom”. The range of emotions he showed in that one song alone was incredible.
However, the show is not without its problems. It takes a while to get into the story and some of the songs such as “I Love Play Rehearsal” take too long. It felt like a show just starting previews that needed a lot of developing and editing and rather than something which has had a Broadway run already.
The show also bizarrely has a lot of product placement throughout. Starting with Mountain Dew to activate the Squip and then multiple logos of different places being shown prominently on the screen. I don’t know if this was paid for but it is unusual in a show to do this and, apart from Mountain Dew, wasn’t helpful to the story.
But I don’t want to end this on a negative note. It’s a fun show with a hard-working cast and is really enjoyable and a lot of fun. It’s great that new shows such as this and Six are helping to expand the theatre audience. You can get tickets here
Rating: 3 Star