A musical by Dougal Irvine
Directed by Sally Rapier
Departure Lounge is Dougal Irvine’s perceptive take on 4 lads, post A Level, hitting Malaga for a week before the exam results are out. In a show that bubbles with exuberance, Irvine addresses booze, birds, banter, bravado, sexuality and friendship, all in 75 minutes, providing a Rough Guide to departing adolescence . The show had been in development for a couple of years before hitting London for a month in 2010. Revised further by Irvine, InStep Theatre have tackled a production that had already set incredibly high standards and more than met them.
An economical cast of 4 lads, plus busty bimbo Sophie, played cunningly and knowingly by Hayley Hampson in a thread that weaves throughout the show, look back on their week in Spain while they wonder if their Ryanair flight’s delay is “gonna last forever”.
The songs are spread throughout the show, allowing stunning vocal harmonies by the boys, interspersed with powerful solo numbers, and a very skilful duet. Do You Know What I Think of You, sung by Glenn Adamson as Ross, and Joshua Meredith as JB, is a painful look at friendship, with JB feeling he is looking out for Ross, who in turns sings of how the friendship is stifling him.
Jamie Barnard as Jordan, discovering his sexuality through the play, is an energetic performance, with a spectacularly high “Gay gay” in a nod to Winoweh, during the hilarious ensemble number, Why Do We Say Gay?.
Perhaps the most moving number of the night is sung by Michael Fletcher as Pete, orphaned at 5. Picture Book tells of his pain and his loss, and is all the more poignant, performed by him whilst his buddies are on their mobiles to mums and dads back home. In this number, Irvine articulates the thoughts and feelings of a pained and damaged young man. This powerful song quite possibly has a therapeutic potential outside of the parameters of musical theatre and deserves greater study.
Sally Rapier has directed the cast cleverly. The staging is simple and economic, and the hugely physical performance that all four boys put into the show is meticulously rehearsed and joyous to watch. The two guitarists, Emily Linden and Kobi Pham, deliver the range of musical styles, from Flamenco to ballad effortlessly.
Ending soon, if you haven’t yet seen it, do so!
Runs until August 19th