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Grief and fluff: Tiger @OmnibusTheatre

Death is something we all will face. After all, nobody gets out of here alive. But how do you get past it when grief is all you can feel? And this is the premise of Tiger, currently playing at Omnibus Theatre . It's a fascinating exploration of the stages of grief. And with a terrific cast to take you on this journey, it's an endearing and sweet story that has you engaged from the start, wondering what will happen next.  We are introduced to Alice (Poppy Allen-Quarmby) as she gives a stand-up routine. It's not particularly funny and starts to veer into the topic of dying. Something isn't right. She used to be good at this but can't move forward. Soon, she is back in her London apartment with her partner Oli (Luke Nunn), discussing that they need to get a lodger to make ends meet.  Oli is a doctor working night shifts at the local NHS hospital. Alice is not ready to face a return to stand up or anything. So when the first potential lodger arrives (Meg Lewis), looking

I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It On the Road @JsTheatre

Time heals everything they say. It has been over thirty years since London has seen I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It On the Road. And watching it at the Jermyn Street Theatre is like a trip back in time. When you arrive there is a band getting ready for the show, and you could be forgiven for thinking you were in a cabaret spot from the 1970s. Complete with pantsuits, glitter makeup and records on the wall. It is a terrific looking production that makes you feel like walking down the steps to the theatre you have been in a time machine. 

But with its handful of songs and themes about the role of women, it almost feels as it time has stood still. The dialogue may be firmly rooted in the 1970s (and often a bit predictable), but the themes of female empowerment and being independent seem as if we haven't come so far since..

The show is about Heather Jones (Landi Oshinowo), a star who had a hit with an treacly love song, trying to impress her manager with her new material ahead of opening night for her new act. The rehearsal becomes the basis for the musical exploring her age, her break-ups and the expectations on women. Her manager Joe (Nic Colicos), who she had a past relationship with, doesn't like everything he hears.

This musical has been largely forgotten except perhaps for its song "Old Friend", which Michael Feinstein continues to champion with his near forensic-like analysis of its depth and meaning. But the rest of the songs written by Nancy Ford are just as good as they explore Heather's past and future. 

Curiously it is when the band isn't playing and the cast isn't singing that the show feels a little flat. Written by Gretchen Cryer based on her own life experiences  it seems to unbelievable. The banter between Heather and Joe is often repetitive and tedious. There isn't much here for Colicos to do other than say things to make the audience wince (just the same way it probably did in 1979).

But the cast and the music keep this show on track. Oshinowo gives a nuanced performance as a performer wanting to break out. Along with backing singers Rosanna Hyland and Kristen Gaetz, when they sing it really is (as one of the songs say) a natural high and make this show a memorable experience.

Band and cast members Alice Offley, David Gibbons, Nick Barstow and Rich Craig round out the group.

Directed by Matthew Gould, I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It On The Road runs through to 23 July at Jermyn Street Theatre.



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