Guy! The Musical
Reviewed by Susy Brett
From the award-winning creators of The Marriage of Kim K comes a new contemporary gay musical, GUY, currently playing at the Bunker in Southwark.
GUY is the story of Guy, a young gay man searching for love but dealing with crippling insecurities about his appearance in the millennial age. When Guy starts catfishing potential partners on Grindr, he provokes a sequence of events that has painful consequences for all those around him.
The music in GUY is astonishingly well developed and by far and away the best part of the production. I would buy the full soundtrack tomorrow (a few songs are available on Soundcloud and they are sublime). It is rare to see such captivating and powerful musical numbers at this stage in a musical’s lifetime, and it is a sign of its promise. The lyrics are very clever, sometimes funny, sometimes painful and always hard-hitting. On top of this, all performers have excellent singing voices, though notably former X Factor star Sean Miley Moore is a stand-out here, which enhances this very well-realised and stunning musical repertoire.
There are no weak links in terms of performances, which are fantastic across the board (although there are varying amounts of work to do). Brendan Matthews is endearing from the off as Guy, a man struggling with millennial prejudices. His performance is very emotional, drawing the audience’s empathy with ease. Meanwhile, his oft-scene partner Sean Miley Moore delivers a wonderfully complex performance as Aziz, a young man embroiled in Guy’s mess.
GUY discusses a myriad of issues faced by this generation, dealing with prejudice, body image and identity in a world where one’s desirability is based solely on their dating app profile picture. These insecurities are universally faced by millennials, enabling GUY to speak to audience members who may be less familiar with gay male culture. What GUY gets across, it does beautifully. Guy’s story is very real, and very human, and provokes a lot of thought.
However, GUY feels overambitious in the scope of its content. It tries to say so much in a short space of time. This means some very valid themes, such as eating disorders and race, receive less attention than they deserve. If race is going to play a part in the story, let it play a substantial role from the beginning, rather than throwing it in haphazardly somewhere in the latter half. As a POC, I fully appreciate the thought of inclusion, but as it is, Aziz’s struggle feels somewhat brushed aside in the face of the very white Guy’s insecurities.
As it stands, GUY feels unfinished, but with the bones of something very beautiful. It is undeniably thought provoking and well acted. Its soundtrack deserves to be heard by a much wider audience. That said, GUY could definitely benefit from a more streamlined story, with more care taken over some of its (many) themes.
PERFORMANCE DATES & TIME
11 June – 7 July 2018
Wednesdays and Saturdays at 8:30pm