Francie Jones is to be applauded for bringing her musical ‘Being Ordinary’ to the BT Studio theatre for a week. She has composed the music, written the lyrics and the dialogue and then directed the whole piece. Here, I do feel, she has made a mistake.
Writers are often too close to their own work to be able to direct it well. Flaws that another director might challenge and change go un-noticed. Francie Jones clearly believes in her work – but a fresh mind might have allowed the work to become a more coherent piece of entertainment.
Unfortunately, the plot is not terribly strong, the dialogue forced, the lyrics unmemorable and (most of) the music is eminently forgettable. There are some pleasant tunes and the occasionally felicitous line – but as a whole, it doesn’t quite work.
Part of the problem is that the action is cut up in the very short scenes – more than 15 in a 45 minute work. This means that no real character or musical development is possible and we are left feeling unfulfilled.
Roberta Klimt and Jonathan Webb work hard with the material and have a pleasing stage presence combined with good voices. John Bainton stands out amongst the supporting players. However the work doesn’t allow talent to shine through.
I do hope that Francie Jones continues to work as a composer/lyricist – she does show potential and promise. For that reason alone, I would say it is worth popping along to the BT this week. But I would urge her to seek collaborators with whom to work. It would take her to the next level.