REVIEW: Reasons To Be Cheerful at The Nuffield Theatre, Southampton

Graeae Theatre Company's Reasons To Be Cheerful. Picture by Patrick Baldwin

There were certainly many reasons to be cheerful about this production as it stormed the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton.

Billed as a ‘raucous musical’, Reasons to be Cheerful makes great work of using the music of Ian Dury and the Blockheads to tell a coming-of-age story.

Hits like Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll, Sweet Gene Vincent and Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick had the audience tapping their feet and singing along throughout.

This is the second time the disabled-led theatre company, Graeae, have toured this show but no energy has been lost to tell it. The set explodes with nostalgia and is full of references to a time that some might argue isn’t too dissimilar from today.

Use of British sign language, audio description and creative captions were masterfully used to present an inclusive experience for all, with the audience very much a part of the punk revolution.

The band were not afraid to get involved either and rocked the house with their on point renditions of the Blockhead classics.

The stand out performance of the night was Stephen Collins who had the audience in fits of laughter playing passionate punk Colin.

The lyrical poetry of Ian Dury’s work has not been forgotten and neither has his political activism.

The ending may not have been to everyone’s taste, but Saturday night’s audience would agree that the show was a well executed piece of anarchy.

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