Brooklyn the musical at Greenwhich theatre (greenwichtheatre.org.uk)
From the outset this show sounded very promising, If only for its wonderful back story: 20 years ago singer Barri McPherson stumbled upon Mark Schoenfeld singing on a Brooklyn street corner. She recognised his voice – they had worked together two decades previously and he’d fallen on hard times. She invited him to live with her family and together they wrote this musical...


As I entered the theatre I was very impressed with the set design,Justin Williams had really gone to town creating a graffiti covered New York alleyway. However as the show started one thought lodged in my head and refused to shift ‘this is like a budget version of Rent’.


Like Rent the setting is the mean streets of New York in the late 80’s/early 90’s, telling the tale is a group of young bohemians, they’ve got no money but they have wide eyes and high ideals.
 ‘Do you believe in happy endings?’
Just as Rent was based on Puccini’s La Boheme The storyline for Brooklyn is opera like in its silliness: a young American bumming around Paris in the 60’s meets a beautiful French dancer named Faith, romance ensues, then he is drafted to Vietnam leaving poor faith so distraught she kills herself (obvs) leaving their baby daughter Brooklyn to grow up in an orphanage, the only clue to her roots is her name and unfinished lullaby her father wrote for her mother when they were young and in love.
This song awakens her latent musical talent and faster than you can say act two young Brooklyn has become a famous singer, and as her fame takes her to America she decides to search for her absent father - Rather than going to Interpol she decides the best to do this is to go around humming the lullaby her father wrote as of course he will be the only person in the world who knows the tune....

Eventually the shows partial narrator (the originally named) street singer introduces her to her father who is now a junkie to blot out the terrible things he saw back in ‘nam 


But the thing is it’s a musical, a weak plot doesn’t really matter as long it has the tunes to back it up but this one really doesn’t, infact as I write this up a day later I’m struggling to remember a single song from the show, musically speaking the main thing that sticks in my mind was how loudly Hiba Elchikhe actress playing Brooklyn belted out her parts.

The saving grace is when young Brooklyn is challenged to a singing duel by aging diva Paradice (played by Emily-mea) there is a big cash prize at stake which  Brooklyn earnestly promises to give to the homeless if she wins while as bad girl Paradice promises to keep every cent for herself...
Although she meant to be the baddie to me  Paradice was the most likeable character as she offered a breath of fresh air and some much needed comic relief to this other wise over sentimental and cliche ridden production.

It’s a shame  because there’s so much about this show that could work but to me the ideas just  weren’t developed enough, over all this felt like a drama school production. unless you are a really big fan of the American musical genre I would give this one a miss