Adam Lenson’s production of this bizarrely brilliant show needs a little more punch about it to really make an impact.
Bonkers, bizarre and yet somehow (and I can’t figure out why) entertaining, The Quentin Dentin Show is one of the most peculiar musicals to hit the stage in terms of its story and characters.
At the centre of the story are Nat and Keith, a couple who are disenchanted with their lives and in need of some serious life changes. Until Quentin Dentin comes along with a promise to make them happier and help sort out their lives. But who is he and where does he come from?
From the stark white set to Luke Lane’s characterisation of Quentin, the show has a definite futuristic vibe about it throwing audiences into another world surrounded by artificial intelligence that comes in the form of a microphone that sings for itself and a radio from which Quentin originally emerges.
But while on the surface it seems to be silly and never takes itself seriously, the show actually has some serious ideas on how we are increasingly relying on artificial intelligence in everyday life – to the extent we will soon have machines telling us when we are happy or not. Are we in danger of making humans extinct?
The second act in particular is distinctly darker than the first, with Luke Lane’s performance as Quentin having a more of a dangerous edge about it, increasing the tension wonderfully and leaves the audience feeling chilled.
However, what lets the show down is the music and lyrics by Henry Carpenter. None of the songs feel relevant to the story, despite being relatively entertaining. The number of songs also feels slightly extravagant, given the slightness of the story and becomes increasingly distracting in terms of keeping up with the plot.
Increased clarity is also needed in the plot – particularly during the first act which feels slightly muddled that leaves more questions than answers by the interval.
Out of the cast it is Luke Lane’s performance as Quentin who delivers a strong character, able to switch between Quentin’s charm and charisma in the first act to the complete contrast in the second act, when he virtually and subtly threatens Nat and Keith.
There is no denying that this is a production that will divide and change your mind about it constantly – rather like marmite in fact. It pulls you in different directions that throws you off-balance, from one moment when you are laughing and being entertained to being completely confused and lost.
Overall, it is a production that has some interesting ideas, but doesn’t always present them in a way that is coherent to understand. You will definitely leave the theatre with your head spinning.
The Quentin Dentin Show will continue to play at the Tristan Bates Theatre until the 29th July. For more information visit: https://www.tristanbatestheatre.co.uk/whats-on/the-quentin-dentin-show