Four years ago, I sat in an very Off-Broadway theatre, crying with laughter at the most ridiculous show I have ever seen – Bayside the Musical. Whilst the play was extended on a number of occasions, I didn’t think I’d ever get to see it again but miracle of miracles – it came to London! Specifically, at The Other Palace which is a lovely little theatre just behind Buckingham Palace.
A couple of weeks ago, I dragged Tim to see it (I couldn’t persuade Husband to come with us – not being as familiar with Saved by the Bell as I am, he got totally confused the first time we saw it). I spent the morning shopping with my Mum over on Regent Street and walked from there to the theatre through freezing snow – good lord, it was cold and I was relieved to get comfy down in their Studio theatre.
It was a slightly smaller theatre than the New York production, and I was a little worried when the actors first came on stage as the audience wasn’t quite warmed up – there wasn’t the levels of hysteria that the Americans had. But the cast soon had everyone in the palm of their hands (and despite being a matinee, there were still catcalls from the Prosecco-drinking audience as the play went on).
It was difficult not to compare the Brits to the original cast but they definitely held their own and there was one thing that they did so well – a brilliantly sarcastic breaking of the fourth wall. The first time it happened – which I think was during the song “Let’s go to the Max” – made me laugh so much. They entirely came out of their cheesy American characters, spoke in their regular British voices and added a genius extra level to this absurd story.
The second act started in the same way as the American with a quick trip to Malibu Sands, but deviated sharply into a self-deprecating scene between The Extras played by William Hazell and Roann McCloskey. They just ripped into the staging, the direction, the token American in the cast (Ben Campbell as Zack) – no one can put the Brits down better than ourselves.
It was stupid, stupid fun, and I absolutely loved it again. Here’s hoping for another reprisal so I can see it a third time.
“We can’t wrap this up in just one show,
We need another episode,
Got to work things out, and resolve the plot,
To be continued, dot, dot, dot”