Hit Comet

Sun 14th – Sat 27th August 2011

reviews

Craig Slade

at 10:17 on 20th Aug 2011

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Hit Comet is difficult for me to review, because I know the majority of the audience loved it. What I write is, therefore, purely down to my own experience. It follows an attempt by three no-nonsense music executives and the hapless Cherry, (the boss’s son) to conceive a hit record (in record time) to play down the phone to Barry Manilow and the firm’s board of directors. Whilst the cast performed well, the dialogue was natural, and the piece flowed nicely, I couldn’t bring myself to take pleasure in a plot which, in my eyes, just didn’t need telling.

And don’t get me wrong, there was nothing inherently wrong with the play, but I still couldn’t really enjoy it despite the whoops of laughter and excitement from audience members around me. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go to see it. It’s a pleasant mid afternoon flick – it just doesn’t slot well enough into any dramatic field to be satisfying; it is neither crazy and convoluted enough to be farce nor cutting and edgy enough to be satire.

If the pop music industry generally excites you then you’ll almost certainly love this. Similarly, if sharp and pragmatic business executives are the sort of people you find interesting, you’ll be on the edge of your seat from start to finish. It seemed to me, however, to be a worn out “do X quickly” attempt-at-a-farce, with characters that I’ve seen before; arrogant boss, annoying child, frustrated (and failed) artist, witty consultant, young blonde – and, of course, Barry Manilow.

The cast gave convincing performances all round, but of characters that all talk much too quickly to be real human beings and are predictably terrible when it comes to writing music and lyrics. If the piece had a saving grace, it was the final song and the earlier attempt to bring a current theme to the music-buying demographic, which ended up being a terrifically terrible song about fast food and love. However, once the three-minutes-forty-seconds of “deep fried lovin’” and “commitment granola” was over, there were few other highlights for this reviewer.

It’ll be frustrating for those involved to read this, because they did everything right except be interesting to me. My mediocre assessment of this shouldn’t stop the majority of fringe-goers attending and enjoying; Hit Comet just didn’t quite hit the spot.

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Madeleine Morley

at 10:50 on 20th Aug 2011

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Hit Comet is a cleverly constructed comedic insight into the mysterious inner-workings of a record label. It's a great opportunity for the creators of the sketch to show-off their ingenious musical talent in a handful of surreal outbursts as they desperately show what it's like to have to churn out yet another pop sensation. It may be a dance song about obesity, a ballad to an orphaned puppy, a dreamy love song themed around fast-food, but in a series of irresistible comedy songs, Hit Comet gives a scarily accurate portrayal of the frantic, cynical commercial music industry.

The show is like a meeting between the deadpan disconcerting Flight of the Concords couple were they to work in an office under the eyes of the earnest Denholm Reynholm from the IT Crowd. The show is delightfully fresh as it addresses something very modern – the demise of the music industry and just how much hopeless, silly music what's left of the industry still releases. The sketch holds contemporary significance in that it hilariously portrays and pokes fun at a dead, soulless and futureless, competitive, consumer orientated world. There are many answers about why the music industry has become increasingly redundant.

The standout, contemporary character is played by the one female of the group, portraying a powerful, sarcastic, blooming pop-star reminiscent of Lady Gaga or a less cool MIA. Wearing a hat made of sunglasses and wielding a double-cello (yes, this instrument does exist, but you can only see it if you see this show, but even then you might not believe it) Miss P attempts to regain artistic license and power, to not allow her soul to be sold in an almost Faustian deal with the record label. Instead of infinite knowledge, Miss P opts for her own line of perfume. The wonderfully daft climax of the play is one not to miss. If you're looking for a fresh, entertaining and witty show about the madness of pop music then Hit Comet is a certain hit.

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