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Review of Skin Deep the Musical at Stockwell Playhouse

Skin Deep the Musical
Skin Deep the Musical Feather Fan

There are two things that unite pretty much every single person on the planet. The first is that we all have a body and the second is that there is something about that body that we would like to change. No matter how perfect everyone else may think our body is, there is something that, us is not right. Now if I were to list everything that I dislike about my body then this would be the longest review in the history of reviewing. However, maybe we should all take a deep breath, relax and just enjoy what we have. That’s the central theme of Lambco Productions new show Skin Deep the Musical which I saw at the Stockwell Playhouse.

Skin Deep is an in-depth and extremely entertaining study of human attitudes to their bodies. Hosted by Diana Diamonte (Shani Cantor) Skin Deep takes the audience and Diana’s boys – Dan (William Frazer), Max (Adam O’Shea), Phil (Nick Brittain) and Richard (Daniel Timoney) – on a tour of the various things that bug them about their bodies. Now, while from where I sat, all four of the boys looked like exceptionally perfect specimens of manhood, each of them confessed to their various concerns – childhood acne, no hair, a gym-obsessed ex-chub, etc. And for each worry, there was an appropriate song by, Chris Burgess, to go with it. Of the over twenty numbers in the show, some – such as the wonderful ‘Size Doesn’t Matter’ – were really funny, while others were heartbreaking – ‘Only a Joke’ comes to mind here – and some, such as ‘My Foreskin and Me’ were a great combination of both. Whatever the song, whatever the style, our talented bunch really delivered on each one with a palpable enthusiasm and enjoyment that drew the audience in and held them spellbound. I have to say, if anyone ever fancies doing a cast recording I would be very happy to buy a copy.

Director and Choreographer Adam Scown really puts the cast through their paces on the stage with a wide variety of dance styles, everything from simple tap to full-scale Bob Fosse style numbers that could easily grace a West End stage. In the cast we have five talented performers, all of whom are the archetypal ‘triple threat’ – they sing, they dance, they act – and perform with style and grace, as well as the occasional, well-placed ad lib which adds to the reality of the performances. Did, I have a favourite, well yes, if I’m honest I loved William Frazer’s character, Dan. A sort of Cockney wide boy, with a lovely smile and gorgeous eyes, who flirts with all the audience and came up with some very, very amusing little ad lib asides that brought the house down.

The performance of Skin Deep that I saw was a special one, as clothing was optional. So virtually all of the audience were naked – yes, me too, never say I’m not dedicated to giving my all to reviewing – and this added a different atmosphere to the proceedings. But, I was surprised at how much more the message of the show came across because of it. Sitting there in my birthday suit, it occurred to me to question why I worry about how I look when everyone around me was also naked and Diana’s Boys’ were willing to forget their own insecurities and get up on stage and reveal everything at every performance?

I’ve no idea if there will be any other ‘clothing optional’ performances on the tour of Skin Deep – and would recommend you check before stripping down – but if there are, I would really recommend going along, forgetting your prejudices about your body and enjoying the show ‘au natural’. If this isn’t an option, then go along and see the show anyway. At the end you will leave the theatre having been thoroughly entertained and able to face yourself in the mirror the next day and say ‘Yep, I may not be Michelangelo’s David – complete with the anatomical mistake – but I’m happy with what I’ve got!’

5 Star Rating

Review by Terry Eastham

Too fat? Too thin? Never exercise? Gym crazy? Hate (or love) how you look in the nude? Then this comedy revue is for YOU! Nowadays we are on social media 24/7 – and there has never been such emphasis on how we look. Supermodels preen on every poster and David Gandy grins on every magazine cover. And we all think – “I don’t look like that! HELP”

Body image, dieting, plastic surgery, the gym, dating apps, and the agony of trying to look good in a selfie.

‘SKIN DEEP’ is a musical revue addressing all these body image insecurities. Diana and her four boys sing, dance and joke their way through a celebration of (and for) every body.

Words and Music: Chris Burgess
Musical Director: Ian Macgregor
Director/Choreographer: Adam Scown
Associate Director/Choreographer: Robbie O’Reilly
Prior to a run at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2018

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