Review: This Little Life of Mine – Park Theatre until 29th October
We’re in a familiar place. An overpriced London flat, a couple starting out, the sounds of city living leaching through their walls. Except for one thing; they’re singing about it.
This Little Life of Mine takes a pretty basic premise and turns it into a musical. We follow Izzy and Philip into their first home together, in a bid to create the life they’ve always wanted. There are humorous moments when we see the everyday characters of our lives communicating through song, and it gives a wry look at modern life that is certainly entertaining.
Unfortunately, it leans a little too heavily on stereotypes, especially in terms of the female characters. We have the overly ‘nice’ girlfriend who wants nothing other than to start a family, the ‘easy’ mate (I found the matching of her sexual antics with her clothing particularly worrisome) and the overbearing mother-in-law. Although these characters did become more nuanced later in the show, it was disappointing to find such simplistic femininity in a show that purports to display modern life as we know it.
My favourite characters by far were depicted by Greg Barnett and Caroline Deverill, who not only provided comic relief but also lent a bit of warmth and depth to the proceedings. While the main characters were well performed by Kate Batter and James Robinson, there was little to be done with their storyline, when their songs wallowed too much in cliché, so that the main story lacked the impact it could have had.
Having said that, there were moments of true emotion. It touched upon issues that some plays and musicals keep well clear of, and it certainly tried to be abrupt about them. I very much appreciated being shown the muckier side of relationships and the desire for a child, although I would have preferred it if we could have a female character who was less defined by her need to have children.
Overall, it was enjoyable. The characters were genuine and the music, if not memorable, was fun to listen to. Perhaps there were too many themes attempted, which meant that they were a little skipped over.
A warm performance, that delved into modern life with feeling.