Gigglemug Theatre’s Timpson the Musical – which is actually sponsored by the company – arrived at the King’s Head Theatre after success at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe.
In case you weren’t aware, Timpson is a shop which sells a variety of services: shoe fixing, key cutting, phone screen repairs. They’re the burgundy pop-up shops you can find in supermarkets that are always there, but forget about unless your mum reminds you.
In this comedy musical, writers Sian Cochrane and Chris Baker tell a faux version of the Timpson story, basing the origins of the shop around Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. You know, two households – the Montashoes and Keypulets – at war, with their children falling in love. It’s a funny premise and easy for the audience to latch on to, but at times the show struggles with what genre it wants to be. Is it an R&J spoof, a satire of musical theatre, or a legitimate historical take on Timpson? Can it be it all three?
Tom Slade and Theo Caplan’s music is a mixed bag, with some very funny songs (‘It’s a Tingle’) along with some which don’t quite hit the mark (a song entirely revolved around the pantomime shtick of being knocked down). There are an abundance of musical theatre references, too. For example, Monty’s (shoe-in, ha, for Romeo) solo song parodies Kinky Boots whilst Keeliegh (Juliet) standing on a box singing a final note is Elphaba-like. If these references had been pushed further, the show’s funniness would definitely skyrocket for musical fans.
Performances throughout are great, with Madeleine Gray’s Monty fully of personality and warmth, whilst Sabrina Messer as Keeleigh has a wonderful voice. Their scenes together are excellent. Brilliant scene-stealing comes from ‘Man 1 & 2’ Alex Prescot and Sam Cochrane, who continuously infect the stage with their energy, playing a myriad of roles including West Country fishermen, a butler and maid having an affair, a dog, and a portrait of Timpson himself. Though Prescot and Cochrane deliver brilliant performances, their continuous clowning leaves little development for James Stirling and Rachael Chomer as Lord Keypulet and Lady Montashoe, respectively. There’s a joke about Keypulet’s ‘tiny saw’ business which feels like a rehearsal room joke gone too far.
Timspon the Musical is a fun show, and certainly a good one for fringe audiences. Combining silly songs, clowning, and a member of the band running on stage screaming, the company definitely make a lasting impression on audiences, and are certainly ones to watch in the parody-musical genre. Next-stop, Starbucks the Opera?