The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

4 stars

The ‘Spelling Bee’ is a very American peculiarity and writing a musical around it is even more peculiar but it works so well.

We meet a group of stereotypical nerdy young people, verging on cartoon caricatures, who are competing in a thing they love which ‘normal’ people wouldn’t do. The musical explores how these outsiders can find common ground and fit in, in their own ways. And what is normal anyway?

There is a lot of clever writing and genuinely laugh-out-loud comedy moments and Patch of Blue Theatre do an excellent job of the acting and singing, giving us 80 minutes of pure entertainment with really nice touches (‘the piano moment’ for example). Some of the costuming is a bit dodgy (Barfee’s fat) although it adds to the charm.

Also featuring a live orchestra this is one to try and catch if you’re looking for an uplifting and quirky show.

Review by Alan.

1-27 August (not 14)


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