Grant Black is the son of legendary lyricist Don Black, whose work includes numerous notable musicals, such as Bonnie and Clyde. Around 35 years ago, Grant was struggling with addiction, and checked himself into rehab. 10 years after this he met Murray Lachlan Young and script writer Elliot Davis, and Rehab The Musical was born. Featuring an all-star cast, this brand-new British musical is premiering at the delightful Playground Theatre.

© Mark Senior

Rehab The Musical is set in 1999, just before the turn of the millennia. The show centres around Kid Pop (Jonny Labey), a 26-year-old pop star that is caught red-handed onstage taking drugs. A judge subsequently hands him a sentence of 60 days in a rehabilitation facility.

The first musical number in the show is called ‘Wanker’ and perfectly sets the tone of the show. It’s a catchy song and is reprised multiple times throughout the show. Watching a Judge sing ‘You’re a Wanker’ is hilarious!

As Kid Pop arrives at The Glade, PR mastermind Malcolm Stone, played by Keith Allen in an askew wig, and his assistant Beth (Jodie Steele) are plotting a way to ensure he stays front page news for the next 60 days. They take advantage of dancer Lucy (Gloria Onituri) who’s currently in a custody battle over her son, and hire her to act as a fellow service user of The Glade and get some undercover photographs of Kid.

The set design by Andrew Exeter is simple yet effective. Made up of metal bars which symbolise being locked up and a sign that reads ‘one minute, day, hour at a time’ which is what your eyes are immediately drawn to when entering the space. The use of props means that the stage is transformed between locations, and it’s easy to know where the scene is set. The cast make great use of the limited space they have, but I do feel that some of the blocking could be improved upon. There were multiple times in which actors had their backs to the front section of the audience, and we couldn’t see what was happening.

At The Glade are multiple people struggling with addictions to a variety of vices, there’s Phil (Phil Sealey) a compulsive overeater, Barry Bronze (John Barr) the man with an addiction to fake tan and Jane Killy (Annabel Giles) who seems to have been in many compromising positions with celebrities throughout the years. Sealey, Barr and Giles all prove themselves brilliant comedic actors giving wonderfully funny performances throughout and bringing the brilliant lines of the script to life.

© Mark Senior

Davis’ script is darkly funny and Black and Young’s songs are varied, catchy and heartfelt. Rehab is peppered with humour and poignant moments in equal measure, and that’s what works so wonderfully well in this show. It’s hilarious, but there’s an important message underpinning it.

The vocal abilities of the entire cast are sensational, there are simply no weak links here. I adore Labey’s gritty rock voice and could listen to him sing all day long. His voice is contrasting to the rest of the cast, and his harmonies with others are goosebump inducing. Onituri is a powerhouse and delivers heartfelt vocals during ‘Through His Eyes’. Steele showcases her vocals which have a stunning tone to them, and Andrew Patrick-Walker provides some jaw-dropping falsetto notes.

I can’t wait to see this show develop as it holds so much potential. Currently the show doesn’t contain much in the way of choreography, apart from towards the end of the show. I would love to see some of these musical numbers made even bigger and better, with full dance sequences.

© Mark Senior

I did feel as though some time can be shaved off the running time. Currently there are many competing storylines, which could be refined without losing anything from this wonderful show. The pacing could also be improved upon, as I did find the ends of both Acts dragged slightly.

But despite these minor flaws, Rehab The Musical is the epitome of why we should be investing in new work. It’s fresh, unique, raucously funny and gives some of the best vocal performances I’ve seen this year.

And so, if someone tries to make you go *and see* Rehab, DON’T say no no no!

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Rehab The MusicalThe Playground Theatre1st – 17th September 2022


{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

2 Star Review 3 Star Review 4 Star Review 5 Star Review 2022 2023 Adaptation Almeida Cabaret Camden Fringe Cast Announcement Christmas Comedy Dance Drag Edinburgh Fringe Edinburgh Fringe Interviews Fringe Immersive Interviews Jukebox Musical LGBTQIA+ Lyric Hammersmith Manchester Musical New Musical News New Wimbledon Theatre North West Off West End Park Theatre Play Review Revival Richmond Theatre Round Up Royal Court Theatre Shakespeare Show Announcement Show Recommendations Soho Theatre Southwark Playhouse Touring Production VAULT Festival West End

    The infamous Sh!t Faced Showtime are back in London with a festive edition, they have taken Dickens’ classic and put a drunken spin on it. The formula is the same as other iterations of the Shi!t Faced shows, one member of the cast has been boozing, and this time it is John Milton who plays Scrooge. Before the show, half a bottle of Jim Beam, some wine, and beer have been consumed in the previous 4 hours. The rest of the cast, try to keep the show on track, also aided by James Murfitt as the compere, Charles Dickens. The … More A PISSEDMAS CAROL – REVIEW – LEICESTER SQUARE
    Spine-tingling yet heart-warming, Mark Gatiss’s retelling of A Christmas Carol truly encapsulates the haunting atmosphere of a Victorian ghost story, balanced out with enough humour so as to capture the festive season. Led by Keith Allen as Scrooge, with Peter Forbes as Marley, this show is perfect for Christmas viewing. The set design by Paul Wills is instantly captivating, containing stacks of metal cabinets towering over the theatre, moveable by the cast to allow space for other central props like doors, beds and tables. In addition to this, the puppetry design by Matthew Forbes is incredibly clever, adding creepy elements to the show such … More A CHRISTMAS CAROL – REVIEW – ALEXANDRA PALACE
    The title of this winner of Theatre 503’s 2023 International Playwriting Award by Roxy Cook may seem like the set-up to a joke, but the narrative that unspools is instead an affectionate, gently barbed and at base quite sobering portrait of three ordinary souls (and one restless feline) adrift in modern Moscow. There is much affable, satirical back-and-forth commentary on the accepted myths & stereotypes of the Russian spirit & soul. Beset by the indignities of age, opportunism, graft, fatigue, the characters orbit one another, doomed to play out their roles in an unjust, predatory and saturnine universe. The play opens … More A WOMAN WALKS INTO A BANK – REVIEW – THEATRE503
    Peter Pan Goes Wrong first premiered in London at the Pleasance Theatre in 2013, and earlier this year the show made its Broadway debut. Now the production is back in the West End for the Christmas season. Following on from The Play That Goes Wrong, in this production, J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan is staged by the fictitious Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society and goes awry, disastrously so. The meta-comedy is filled with slapstick comedy, sometimes the humour may be predictable and silly, but it’s universally funny throughout – there is something for everyone here, and the laughs come thick and fast … More PETER PAN GOES WRONG – REVIEW – LYRIC THEATRE
    Drawing heavily from the classic canon of the British supernatural, HighTide’s trio of contemporary Gothic narratives uses traditional storytelling formats to address contemporary themes. Directed by Elayce Ismail, reverent musical interludes accompany tales of apparitions and nighttime conjurings that speak of women from the East of England. Unfortunately, the effect is less chilling and more lightweight, with conventional structures, predictable plot twists and an over-reliance on external forces to drive narrative shoring up some of the less relatable aspects of the genre. Nicola Werenowska’s The Beach House, perhaps the cleanest of the three tales, tells of a mother and daughter’s … More GHOST STORIES BY CANDLELIGHT – REVIEW – SAM WANAMAKER PLAYHOUSE

Leave a Reply