Walking into York’s charming Theatre Royal building and into its studio space to take a seat, we’re not sure exactly what to expect. You see, when we think of an indie musical, we conjure tight jeans, long hair, “prissy” attitudes and massive egos prancing about on stage, and to be fair, that’s what we get…some of the time.
What we get for the rest of this production however, is intelligent writing, impressive musicianship (most entertaining is the human drummer-beat-box machine and Silent Bob-type Ray) and some highly-innovative and emotive songs. This production will resonate with you, not just musically (despite the title, it’s possible to find something to identify with here even if you are into the heaviest of metal sounds…like us) but if like many in this time, you are struggling for motivation after the dreams you’ve been promised while at university are a little bit more out of reach than you anticipated, then this production can offer some comfort with its realistic examination of two musicians struggling to make it in a London town. It’s a strangely awkward journey throughout, but with each sad twist there is an equally delightful turn of good fortune (Damian’s realisation that his teaching method of singing to child Hamir is delivered particularly well). If a comparison has to be made between this and something already out there, then we would look to ‘Flight Of The Conchords’ or even ‘The Full Monty’ for direction. Why? The same diversity embeds itself within this narrative and common themes of camaraderie, struggle and hyped-up personality are also evident.
So then the story focuses on two characters; Damian and Keith who are The AmoC (coma backwards), and they dream of becoming great rockstars, something akin to Liam and Noel of Oasis perhaps…but with better hair. The problem is (and we’ve all been there…) they have to live as well, and so, naturally they begin work as teaching assistants with children who have severe learning difficulties. Yes, as you might expect, self-discovery does begin (particularly for sensitive songsmith Damian) but it never gets too over the top that we can’t stand it.
The original tracks wrestle against growing old and conforming to the established order, and most fantastic is the outburst from both Damien and writer/director Doug Crossley’s KeIth about testing in the school system and how…err, pointless it seems to be. Other notable tunes have to be ‘Baby Bear (The Alphabet Song)’ which takes an established children’s concept and turns it upside down, the stadium-ready-ish anthem ‘Limp Wristed Boxer’ and the Spanish-pop-tinged ‘Man With Massive Hands’ – each of these examines in its own way the softer and more thoughtful centre to these confident and cocky individuals.
Again, the dominating idea here is something we can all relate to at some point in our lives; the struggle we go through in trying and failing to succeed (whether we want to be rock gods or simply good teachers) but then, finding a way to pick ourselves up again regardless to keep on trying anyway.
Doug Crossley has created something here that will communicate to all ages, and all types of people. His cast are immensely talented and dedicated to their craft, and it is a joy to watch and will reassure other passionate creative-types that they are not alone, and perhaps that they don’t have to be superstars to be happy, they may feel proud changing people’s lives within the school yard. Don’t let the title fool you reader, there’s more on offer here than you might first think.
For more information visit the official website.