‘Foolproof’ is the first Manchester Musical Revue (MMR) show with its new creative team, led by director James Ward-Mallinson, musical director Daniele Paolo Anderle and producer Mary Morris. It was an absolute success.
‘Foolproof’ follows a group disgruntled villains, playing cards in their hideout, planning to take down enemies, the agents (played by Ward-Mallinson and assistant director/writer Ben Pointon).
This show was self-deprecating and hilarious, made more so by occasional rewrites made by the voices of Ward-Mallinson and Pointon. True to UMMTS style, the ensemble vocals were excellent, featuring in songs like Kill the Beast (from Beauty and the Beast).
Megan Shone shone as a standout performer as the deranged dentist criminal, Smiler, she was constantly enjoyable to watch, whether centre stage or not. The play on Suddenly Seymour (Little Shop of Horrors) with Suddenly Smiler, was a captivating moment between Shone and devious school girl criminal Scarlett Gorman.
Carol-Anne McConnellogue was also excellent, managing to play villain with split personality between hardened Irish criminal and a sweet American girl.
‘Foolproof’ managed to cram in songs from like Heathers, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Sound of Music – any musical theatre fan’s dream. And for those who wouldn’t be so quick to recognise the songs, the cast made them their own and the comedic value was still relatable. Every cringey awkward stereotype worked and the show was also Manchester-centric, so further felt like it was catered to its audience.
The Bond jokes were deliberately obvious, with no effort made to hide, at one point the French Villainess (Keira Battersby) seemed to excruciatingly squish multiple references into one sentence, then give up, huffing “Skyfall” at a giggling audience. It was also a funny, and worryingly accurate, that the Bond agents didn’t feature much in the show and were simply old men interested in sex, who were out of a job due to lack of crime.
Special mention must go the horrendously cringey and strangely enjoyable German caricature portrayed by Harry Newman-Walley, especially when a bizarre rendition of ‘Edelweiss’ (The Sound of Music) led to the audience singing along.
A genius and powerful departure from the comedy was Hugh Summers’ rendition of ‘Being Alive’ (Company). The switch from his husky cockney villainous persona into this emotional song, was extremely impressive.
‘Foolproof’ was great fun, so self-aware that is created an atmosphere similar to ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’. MMR has yet again produced a great show in record time I can’t wait to see more!