High Fidelity is a dynamic masterpiece. Its tongue in cheek, extremely animated and full of innuendos. This newly adapted musical originates from the book of the same name and it doesn’t fall far from perfection. It has ingenious lyrics, inspiring choreography and a cast of true triple threats that fill the show with infectious energy. The recently opened Turbine Theatre is an ideal location for this intimate show where you’re so close you can feel the energy emulate from the actors. If you’re lucky enough to sit on their sofa seats don’t fear that you might drift off, as the show is utterly captivating from start to finish. It’s feel good, cheesy and entirely absurd.
High Fidelity is originally a 1995 British, Nick Hornby novel, which was adapted into a film. The 2000 film, staring Jack Black and John Cusack changed the location from London to Chicago. After they made it into a musical on Broadway, this production at the Turbine Theatre brings it back to its roots and sets it appropriately in England. This is an effective transition by Vikki Stone (Adapted the book and lyrics) and Paul Taylor Mills (Artistic Director).
The plot follows Rob’s (Oliver Ormson) revaluation of his life after Laura breaks up with him. He encounters quirky and charismatic people from running his “Last real record shop on earth”. It’s true that the original film doesn’t quite pass the Bechdel test. But Mills makes this show more modern alongside Stone, and they truly succeed. It’s subtle, but the shows manages to take its female characters and shapes them into strong modern women who lead the show.
The cast is stunning to watch, each member is an expert at their craft and they demonstrate real talent. The leading man, Ormson is a constant striking presence as he bounds around the stage in a cartoon-like manner. Laura (Shanay Holmes), who plays Rob’s cause of heartache, is a peaceful contradiction to her lively partner. She sings with poppy vocals and executes effortless riffs. Bobbie Little is playing Liz and is particularly striking when she sings “She Goes”. This is an exquisite number is which you see Little’s full potential as a performer. Little is electric to watch and it’s a wonder how she breaths throughout the whole song. The featured ensemble are as equally astounding. They match the energy of the leads and portray unconventional personalities. Each persona is so animated it’s hilarious to see. This is particularly true of the yoga guru, Ian (Robert Tripolino) and the die hard music lover, Barry (Robbie Durham) who replicates Jack Black in the film brilliantly.
The choreography stands out as fresh and original. There isn’t a bar of music left for the actors to relax and the jam packed dancing feels thrilling. Overall, High Fidelity is genius fun as you jump into the wacky imagination of Rob and help him through his early mid-life crisis. This show is a true demonstration of what musical theatre can be. It’s a memorable evening.