Whenever I decide to write a review about something I’ve been to see it’s usually with a hint of the fanboi in me. And sometimes I feel extremely guilty about that fact, but when it comes to Fanatical – A Sci-Fi Convention Musical I have no need to. It’s a musical that literally pulls at the heart strings of fandom. It’s extremely clear that Reina Hardy and Matt Board know fandom at an intimate level, the script and the songs are sheer genius (and if you know me, I don’t say that lightly).
I really don’t want to spoil people when it comes to the plot. But I can honestly say that every single science fiction, convention going geek, like myself, will find themselves in the characters of the musical. And see reflections of other familiar faces too. It’s also, for the Gaters amongst us (Stargate fans to the unknowing), particularly poignant, as Suanne Braun (SG-1’s Hathor) plays Trix, the con organiser who has worked her behind off to pull together a convention for Angel 8 fans. And knowing a few con organisers myself, I can honestly say, I definitely recognised a couple of them in her character.
The music in this show is lively, it sticks in your head, and J and I may have walked back to the station singing one of Trix’s songs from the second half whilst creasing up in giggles. I’m currently praying for a soundtrack (Reina tweeted me about hoping to get funding), because it’s definitely one I would be singing along with in the shower (and the living room, the kitchen, the bedroom…).
The only downside to today was the size of the audience. Fanatical may be a small show in terms of musical theatre audience size, but it deserves to be filled to the rafters every night. Sophie Powles epitomises every fangirl who has found her connection with a strong female character in her role as Andra, whilst Eddy Payne’s Baxter will be familiar to every man who was once that awkward sci-fi fanboy. Stephen Frost is as Scott Furnish is every single fan’s experience of a worst nightmare – meeting your hero when they are in a bad mood.
The set is recognisable as a convention for those of us who walk (or in my case usually wheel through) those hallowed halls. The touch of the Pop Vinyl collectables was a nice one. I got the opportunity to look at them during the interval and I have to say, as a collector, it did make me smile. I won’t deny that I’ve scoured convention floors looking for particular Pops, or collectables (my Janeway tree ornament that took 3 years to track down for example). The costumes sum up every single convention you’ve ever been to, a mix of cosplay, con crew shirts, and the odd geeky t-shirt too.
If you’re a sci-fi fan, whether you love musicals or not, this show has to be on your must-see list before it closes on December 8th. You’ll love it!