Set in a West End theatre, the show follows a working shift in the lives of the stagiest people in the theatre – the front-of-house staff – who portray the hilarious, ridiculous and moving stories of ice cream and programme sellers who dare to dream… 

A preview performance of a new jukebox musical is due to take place, a three-year workplace romance is on the rocks, an untrained newbie is working her first shift and the amorous manager is under pressure to cut costs. What could possibly go wrong? 

Ushers the Musical is the perfect tribute to all who work in the theatre industry, highlighting the hugely underappreciated front-of-house staff and some of the totally hilarious and unbelievable yet very real situations they face every day.

We join Lucy on her first day of training where she learns a lot more than she bargained for. Faced with an aspiring TikTok influencer, a boss who seems to desire a lot more than just a promotion, and a crumbling relationship threatened by big news, the extraordinarily talented cast portrays life in the theatre industry perfectly. Being a professional theatre nerd, I embarrassingly had no prior knowledge of this show's existence and went into it believing it was a new musical. I have since learnt that this revival is actually in celebration of their tenth anniversary and every single word is still as astonishingly accurate as the day it was written.  

Ushers premiered at The Hope Theatre in 2014, transferring to The Charing Cross Theatre for a short run and then reviving at The Arts Theatre in 2015. The show is suited perfectly to a small stage, using very minimal props and no set. It works nicely in a theatre where the audience is accessible to the actors, the show is not immersive but the actors' connection with the audience is an important part of the atmosphere. The Other Palace Studio space is a fabulous fit, I can't see it working as well in a traditional space like the Arts, and there is balcony seating available in the space, but it wouldn't be my first choice as not being on the studio floor would feel somewhat isolating and cause the show to be experienced in a very different way to how it is intended, losing a lot of effect. There are also some small portions of action that would be missed from the balcony due to sightlines. Watching a piece of theatre, especially one so relatable, in a more intimate space can be so much more effective than huge audiences and West Endstages. It's really nice to see a show purposefully created and directed to take up a smaller space for a more meaningful and connected experience.  This show was created at exactly the scale it was supposed to be and has proceeded to develop over 10 years without growing in size, which makes a statement about the actual content of the show doing all the work, and that staying stripped back and simple allows for that to be no9ced and enjoyed. 

Yiannis Koutsakos is a musical genius, flawlessly developing a score that's both highly recognisable and completely original at the same 9me; drawing inspiration from musicals old and new, while maintaining a totally unique score. Koutsakos, along with James RoKger and James Oban, applied their fantastically clever lyrics to create a world that's brand new and yet identical to the one we live in. 

Every character brings something essential to the stage and with such a small cast, the show allows us to appreciate each individual. Bethany Amber Perrins as Rosie utterly stole my heart. Representing every true theatre nerd's passion and enthusiasm, she exudes chaos with her endless joy and energy and provides a firm reminder to be unapologetically yourself. Danielle Rose made her professional debut in Six The Musical not long after graduating. With her explosive talent, she is a name to watch out for. However, the absolute crowning moment of this show is the Eleven O'Clock number, in the form of a ballad sung by Ben and Gary. A duet between Cleve September and Luke Bayer is the musical moment the world didn't know it was waiting for. Two voices blending together seamlessly to create genuine magic is the absolute highlight of the show. 

Chock-full of musical theatre references, name drops, brilliantly chosen inspirations, and fantastic attention to detail, this show is a fabulously fun night out and an absolute must-see for anyone who knows what a theatre is. Lucy's biggest dream is rave reviews of her show,  and you're certainly getting one from me! 

It runs until 19th May 2024.


Review: Rachel Sarah Leveney           Photo: Craig Fuller