This brand new musical based around a love story unfolding during the pandemic is charming and heartfelt.
Writing, recording, producing and performing a brand new musical in the middle of a pandemic is something that performers and creatives have adapted to during these difficult times and added to this collection is this charming audio musical.
U.Me the Musical follows the developing relationship between Rose (who had recently moved to London before lockdown began) and Ryo (who has moved to Kyoto from San Francisco) who meet online and begin chatting about their lives with a deeper relationship beginning to blossom along the way. On a deeper level, this audio musical explores themes such as loneliness, grief and of course love that is completely relatable to anyone listening in.
Featuring music and lyrics by Theo Jamieson (known for his work on Everybody’s Talking About Jamie), the musical is filled with a rich depth musically – that gives the story a strong emotional core, particularly during the heartbreaking moment when one of the characters loses someone close to them. Beautifully performed by the BBC Philharmonic, it makes the listener long to hear it being performed live. However, it does have to be said that some of the lyrics in places feel a little bit awkward but there is no denying that this is a musical created with all the best intentions.
Meanwhile, the book by Simon Pitts and Theo Jamieson develops the story at a nice pace as it gradually brings Rose and Ryo together – it almost has a Richard Curtis romantic comedy feel about it in terms of the tenderness and sensitive way in which it deals with the themes at the centre of the story. Perhaps some of the plot is slightly predictable – but it is also comforting and reassuring, particularly in the way in which it handles grief and loneliness. There is a consistent level of hope to be found in U.Me that ensures that the story remains relatable.
Both of the performances from Anoushka Lucas (Rose) and Martin Sarreal (Ryo) are wonderfully warm and endearing that makes it easy to root for their relationship – even when it feels as though it is going wrong. Through every song that they perform and each interaction that they have you get a real sense of the chemistry and connection between them.
Overall, U.Me is a wonderfully enjoyable and easy to listen to experience that comfortably reflects the last year that we have experienced and never forgets the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on us all.
By Emma Clarendon
U.Me is available to listen to via BBC Sounds.