Review: The Lost Disc, Soho Theatre, W1

Is it a play? Is it a music gig? Is it a comedy gig? The Lost Disc is a bit of all three. John Lightbody is former DJ/journalist Stu Morecambe down on his luck and in search of a musical Marie Celeste, a bootleg recording of three legends together. But does it exist? And even if it does will he ever find it?

Will Adamsdale plays all three mythical musical icons. A Dylanesque enigmatic folkie, a Sinatra-style crooner with a penchant from novelty Xmas hits and a Johnny Cash-influenced renegade country singer. The bulk of the show features mini-gigs by this triumvirate, supported by co-singer (Victoria Elliott) and full band, The London Snorkelling Team. Ed Gaughan (pictured with Adamsdale) plays various comical managers sporting a variety of glasses and accents.

The Lost Disc, directed by Pappy's Tom Parry and written by Parry, Adamsdale and Gaughan, has lots of nice elements to it. The music, for starters, is catchy and instant. And there is a pleasing gag about a pre-bellend Morrissey – the seminal jam session is believed to have taken place at Glastonbury in 1985 when The Smiths were headlining.

There is a hint of Brian Pern about the music business in-jokes, as we move through different genres and sub-cultures. Adamsdale is excellent at capturing the nuances of each superstar in his thumbnail character studies. The tilt of a titfer or the way he curls his mouth or the angle he stands at speaks volumes. 

The problem is that by trying to be a number of things it never fully commits to being one thing. This is both a strength and a weakness. If you like hybrids of music, theatre and comedy this might be just the thing for you. But if you want music, theatre or comedy, you might not quite get enough of any of them here. It is not particularly funny and, until the last quarter, not particularly dramatic. Apart from the Morrissey gag the songs are easily the best thing about it. File under curiosity.

Until October 27. Tickets here.

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