I Can’t Sing

Published March 27, 2014

What’s it all about?

Cynthia Erivo’s extraordinary, Palladium-stunning voice.

And it’s a loving, knowing send up of gargantuan Saturday night TV hit X Factor. It mocks everything from Simon Cowell’s messianic tendencies to the show’s love of a heartbreaking back story with the cheeky yet harmless wit of a mischievous shorts-wearing schoolboy. It’s sillier than a man dressed as a fly dangling around a giant mouth… which is also part of the show.

But mostly it’s about Cynthia Erivo.

Who’s in it?

Have I mentioned Cynthia Erivo? If the world has not been made aware of her supreme talents after her star performance in The Color Purple, it must after this. As the archetypal contestant who doesn’t know her own ability, Chenice, she passes the all-important tingle test* with her rendition of the title song.

Nigel Harman – who’s swiftly cornering the market in musical theatre overlords following his Olivier winning performance as Shrek’s Lord Farquaad – is a finely observed caricature of Simon, his arch right eyebrow deserving its own curtain call.

Simon Lipkin, an original Avenue Q member, once again proves his puppetry prowess as Barlow, Chenice’s straight-talking pooch.

There are fun turns too from Simon Bailey as a distinctly recognisable host and Charlie Baker as the man with the best back story – and one of the best gags – of the evening.

What should I look out for?

Cynthia Erivo – I can’t stress that enough.

Kate Prince’s delightfully intricate choreography.

TV Burp fans will undoubtedly appreciate the recognisable Brenda and reference to Eoghan Quigg.

Oh, and The Wind, whose sillier than a packet of unruly sausages performance might have been the highlight if it weren’t for Cynthia Erivo.

What tunes will I be humming?

The soaring, anthemic title track… then feeling downhearted that you don’t have Cynthia Erivo’s voice.

That, and the ballad to hopes and dreams, It Could Be Me.

Who was in the press night crowd?

Well, the real Simon Cowell was there, as was writer Harry Hill. They both took to the stage at the curtain call. It’s hard to say who else as I was seated away from the celebs, probably with good reason, but I did spot Joanna Page and former X Factor star Stacey Solomon.

In a nutshell?

Cynthia Erivo gets 2,000 yeses. She’s one million percent a star.

Will I like it?

The more you know about both X Factor and musical theatre, the more you’ll get the in jokes; there are more of these than in a comedy about Mary and Joseph trying to find somewhere to stay.

If you like your humour piled high with the ridiculous, and jokes that make you groan with enjoyment, pick up your phone and vote for I Can’t Sing.

*Tingle test = Does the performer make my spine shudder with pure enjoyment at their virtuosity.

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