Be More Chill is currently one of Broadway’s biggest musicals so it came as a great surprise to me that Liverpool’s amateur theatre group What We Did Next has secured the rights to perform the show but they did and they did a wonderful job of putting this show on. Be More Chill tells the story of Jeremy and what happens when he takes a pill and gains a ‘Squip’, a kind of guardian angel telling him what to do.
Daryl Holden plays the Squip and he does a terrific job. He gets the perfect balance between being charming yet slightly terrifying at the same time. He has a great intensity in the role and is wonderful to watch. Mikey Rowan gives a strong performance as Rich and has a great stage presence and energy.
Roisin Carlin, Eliza Hall and Emma Flynn play Chloe, Brooke and Jenna and they are all terrific in their roles. They deliver some nice vocals, their energy is fantastic and their portrayals of the characters are very believable. Andy Walker is enjoyable as drama teacher Mr Reyes and his intensity in one of the final scenes is fantastic to watch.
Lily Mak plays Jeremy’s love interest Christine Canigula and she does a tremendous job in the role. Her vocals are lovely, her chemistry with her two love interests at different points of the show is believable and her performance is hilarious. Phil Amaro is perfectly cast as Michael. His rendition of the iconic song from the show Michael in the Bathroom is fantastic and his vocals throughout are strong. He is instantly likeable and has a great energy on stage. Andrew Michael Jones is brilliant as Jeremy’s dad but it would have been nice for there to be more to that character and his relationship with Jeremy in the writing.
For me, it is Adam Boulton as Jake and Connor Simkins as Jeremy that steal the show. Boulton gives one of the most believable portrayals of a character I’ve seen in a long time and his stage presence and energy are fantastic. Simkins gives a performance that would not have been out of place on the professional stage. His vocals are outstanding throughout the show, he has a fantastic energy in the role and he completely embodies the character.
The band sound fantastic under the direction of Mark Newberry and Josie Conti and the show has a simple but very well used set designed by Vi Mori. Jess Sutcliffe and Andrew AB did a great job putting this show together and using the unique space effectively. The stage is narrow but very long but the show doesn’t suffer from this at all.
Joe Iconis’ music and Joe Tracz’s book work brilliantly together to make a very unique show with a story unlike anything you see elsewhere, which is very refreshing to see.
Be More Chill is completely sold out for its run in Liverpool unsurprisingly but hopefully more productions of this show that is just great fun will start popping up across the country.
Reviewer: Jacob Bush
Reviewed: 8th May 2019
North West End Rating: ★★★★