This week I was lucky enough to be invited down to the Omnibus Clapham for the preview of Tomorrow, Maybe ahead of its opening at Edinburgh Fringe next month.
So what has Tomorrow, Maybe got to offer? Written and Composed by Stephanie Jayne Amies, with additional music and arrangements by Teddy Clements, the show is an immersive experience which takes place in a commuters coffee shop – and true to site-specific theatre, the Producer Jamie Hemingway has ensured that the locations for the production are suited to the requests of the music and lyrics. The Clapham Omnibus leant itself nicely to the vibe of Mariana’s coffee shop, home of the lead character Rosa.
The show itself is different to that of many other musicals on the scene at the moment. Although the characters are endearing, you are drawn to fall in love with the overall concept of the show – which is required to really appreciate the skill in the writing of this piece. The main host of characters may only play the stage for a matter of minutes, and much credit to the actors who deem various outfits and, though recognisable in face, create individuality and uniqueness in every character they play.
Rosa, played by Sylvia Medina, is our main string holding all the stories of the commuters together that are revealed to the audience as they pass through her coffee shop during the course of the day. There are a couple of other returning characters throughout such as the excitable actress-cum- waitress played brilliantly by bright eyed Natalie Thorn (who also presented very strong character adoption throughout in her various roles), and the Nurse played by Rebecca Bailey who emanated and called for empathy from the audience by portraying a role of emotion that many can relate to. I must admit, I think there is a little more development for the role of Rosa just to ensure she keeps the audience’s interest throughout as she does shoulder the entire show – these customers are people she sees every day – eye contact and the little intricacies of the benefit of having that relationship could really enhance the role for Medina.
As I mentioned though, this isn’t particularly a show you have the time to fall in love with individual characters, instead you attach yourself to the concept. The idea that around you every day are people living their own lives, some steeped in sorrow, some with little victories, and others just rife with awkward moments, and that for one brief moment of the day, all your lives are connected by the one act of choosing this particular coffee shop.
Amies lyrics are so connected to the present and her characters are incredibly relatable to the extent that you are left wanting more from every person, and the score is a beautiful triumph with clever intricacies and anecdotes that keep you active as an audience member and even laughing at times.
Director Kevin Jones does a tremendous job at keeping the dialogue active. This is a show where you are expected to listen and delve into the lives of characters over very short times, however with this incredibly talented cast and the choices of both them and Jones, you are never left wondering what is happening. A particular favourite convention applied throughout the production is how Jones uses the characters in that present moment to suddenly become representations of people from another characters past story, such as the commuters retelling the love story of Rosa’s parents falling for each other, or the group of estate agents and baby-mum’s becoming the rivalling partners in a relationship. Very simple. Very effective. Very well done.
Though this is a particularly strong cast, there are a few stand out performances that I have to note to keep an eye out for if you are due to catch the show at Edinburgh (or beyond!) this year. Max Panks as the homeless busker (amongst many other roles) has an amazing solo song on his guitar which I will title ‘Little Boat’. His tone and general demeanour were captivating and although this was my favourite role of his, he is definitely a confident member of the cast in all his roles. Likewise, Matthew Boyd was incredibly gripping in his role as the soldier and has a great presence on stage in every character he turned to, and when paired with Natalie Thorn, their comedic story of falling for the familiar faced commuter was a funny little treat.
I can’t finish the review without giving mention to every cast member, however, as this show is as fantastic as it is due to the foundation of its amazingly talented cast. Liberty Buckland demonstrates a flawless ability to adapt role after role whilst having a voice that ranged from delicately placed notes to stronger tones without a single out of place, and Robert Woodward gives the audience a pleasant comic relief but still with a great adaptability and vocal range that tackles unexpected changes throughout.
Tomorrow, Maybe is a show packed with harmonies that leave your mouth agape, laughs that tickle you for the rest of the night, and truth that make this show relatable to everyone in some way. The show has had a great journey to date, and there is definitely more to come from this cast, crew, and creative team so make sure you are one of the people with a ticket for a show that I can promise will be much sought after throughout the Edinburgh Fringe this summer. Get your ticket today, definitely!
Review by Adam Wollerton
Suitable for ages 14+. Contains sexual references and strong language.
An immersive original British musical set in a commuters’ coffee shop.
It focuses on snapshots of the people we cross paths with every day: from a Sicilian woman who fails to connect with the world around her, to a homeless man and his powerful tale of hope, the show questions how much we can really know about those around us.
With two sell-out runs in Southampton, the show has recently been recognised as Best Newcomer, Best Opera or Musical and Production of the Year at the Southern Daily Echo Curtain Call Awards 2015.