The Ushers came to the Arts Theatre after being very popular on Edinburgh Fringe and made its London debut at the Hope Theatre and then the Charing Cross Theatre in 2013/14. It is the front of house musical and follows the story of theatre ushers and their trials and tests with customers, careers and love.
This production is directed by Max Reynolds and written by Yiannis Koutsakes and James Oben. The musical features a lot of dance sequences which were brilliantly choreographed by Russell Smith.
It is a simple show with five ushers and a sleazy manager who work at a theatre playing ‘Oops I Did It Again’. Simple and brilliant in this case. The story begins when a new usher, Lucy, played by Corrine Priest (Girlfriends, Les Miserables (while training)), joins the front of house team. Priest has a wonderful voice, performing ‘Dreams and Ice Creams’ with a lovely tone.
Gary and Ben, played by Ben Fenner (The Confession Room, Sleeping Beauty) and Rory Maguire (Kiss of Spiderwoman, Betty Blue Eyes), are a gay couple with their relationship on the rocks because Ben has taken an acting job in Austria. Ben feels that Gary is not serious about their relationship and leaves the team without a word, singing ‘It’s Time to Let Go’. Gary is unsure he has made the right choice singing ‘Half Finished Story’ he is torn.
Stephen, played by Cameron Sharp (Rock of Ages, Rent), is an actor who is an on and off usher. He sings ‘The Parts I Could Play’ which is performed wonderfully by Sharp who demonstrates incredible vocal talent in this number.
Rosie, played by Alexandra Parkes (Grease, Ruthless), is perhaps the outsider of the group as she’s not an actress but rather a stagey ninja who stalks various ‘leading men’ of the West End. She performs ‘Leading Men’ a very comic scene, wonderfully performed by Parkes.
Harry Stone (A Midsummer Nights Dream, Fame, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) plays Robin the rather sleazy, slimy manager and failed opera singer. He cares about nothing other than ‘spend per head’ and harasses and blackmails his employees.
It is a very funny show with a satisfying ending where the ushers win over their manager who is forced to resign and the relationships and potential relationship come together. It is the height of all stagey-ness – what’s not to love? A fabulous show performed by a very talented cast.
The Ushers runs at the Arts Theatre until Sunday 18th October.