It’s always nice to see some new and original musical theatre getting a chance in the West End. Daybreak is a show by Bobby Cronin who is one of the most promising new musical composers I’ve encountered in the past few years.
Daybreak is “a coming-of-age musical journey about the troubled relationship of 40-year old painter Dylan and his in-denial wife Rebecca, whose biological clock is ticking more loudly with each passing day. The real issue with their marriage? Dylan likes to sleep with men. As the couple moves into Dylan’s childhood home in San Francisco, the story of Dylan’s parents unfolds and intertwines as memories haunt the old house.” (taken from the Tristan Bates Theatre website)
The Tristan Bates Theatre is an intimate performing space in the heart of the West End. It’s an ideal place to put on (and try out) new shows in front of a small audience. It certainly is the perfect theatre for this production which would be lost in a bigger venue. The set creates a nostagic flair which is a nice contrast to some rather modern bits in the show (a song centering around Facebook for example).
Daybreak has a cast of only four people. Suzy Bastone plays Rebecca, a woman who is desperate to have a family and who is realising throughout the show that her only dream will never come true if she stays with her husband (played by Matt Stevens). She is the real stand out in this production with a stunning voice and spot on acting. While the story itself partly lacks in substance Suzy manages to really engage the audience in Rebecca’s misery.
My main problem with the show is the fact that it seems to only concentrate on the extremes and the outbursts. I missed a few everyday situations to balance the whole story out. Having said that the emotional extremes are showcased really well thanks to some fantastic songs and great performances especially by the two females in the cast. However, the show needs to slow down a bit in terms of emotional tensions. You get thrown into a pool of heavy emotions but you don’t really get to know the characters and their everyday life.
Tom Senior (as Jamie) and Matt Stevens both have great voices and sing through the score with ease but their acting doesn’t convince completely. They both appear a bit insecure and unsure how to handle their characters’ emotional journey. Kayleigh-Louise Smith (as Kelly) has a powerful and beautiful voice and brings real depth to her character. Both her and Suzy Bastone are the highlights of this production.
Whilst Daybreak isn’t perfect and can probably do with a slight rewrite of the story to make the characters more accessible for the audience it has a lovely score with some beautiful lyrics. If you enjoy watching new musical theatre I suggest you give this a go. Bobby Cronin’s score and a stand out performance by Suzy Bastone are worth the ticket money alone.
Daybreak is showing at the Tristan Bates Theatre until June 30th 2012. To book tickets go to http://www.tristanbatestheatre.co.uk/production_details_daybreak.asp .