Be More Chill Is A Quirky Take On The High School Musical Genre

Be More Chill, The Other Palace ★★★★☆

By Paul Ewing Last edited 28 months ago

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Be More Chill Is A Quirky Take On The High School Musical Genre Be More Chill, The Other Palace 4
Photo: Matthew Crockett

What do you do when you're a gawky young teenager trying to fit in? If you get the chance to take a pill that will make you more popular, why wouldn't you? And so begins a sci-fi take on trying to fit in at high school, where it's hard to be yourself when the voices inside your head are telling you how to fit in with the cool kids.

Photo: Matthew Crockett

With an enthusiastic cast, infectious music and a quirky take on the high school musical genre, Be More Chill is a lot of fun, even if you're not a devotee of the original book or part of the show’s social media phenomena. The book was by Ned Vizzini, and drew on his experiences at high school. Vizzini struggled with anxiety and depression throughout his life, and it led to his death by suicide in 2013.

Photo: Matthew Crockett

The story translates remarkably well to stage, capturing in song the doubts and struggles of the characters with everyday pressures at school. There are also some astute reflections on the limits of technology, particularly in allowing young people to have control over how they can grow and learn.

The music and lyrics by Joe Iconis seem to grow from the text in quirks and blips. Not every song is hummable, and some lyrics might seem a little odd, but in the context of the show, it all makes perfect sense.

Photo: Matthew Crockett

Heading up the enthusiastic cast is Scott Folan as the gawky Jeremy, and Miracle Chance as the quirky Christine. Alex Basco Koch's video projections effectively give you the sense you're trapped with Jeremy in a game that you can't get out.

Photo: Matthew Crockett

A modern update of the high school musical. Well almost modern, since scenes are set in now-bankrupt stores such as Payless Shoes, and the soon-to-be-gone Forever 21.

Be More Chill, The Other Palace, Palace Street, SW1E 5JA. Tickets £19.50-£87.50, until 3 May 2020.

Last Updated 19 February 2020