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Armchair Reviewers Club - Round up of Week 15 (Mood Music)

Hello, and welcome back to another week of Armchair reviewers! This week we are looking at the Old Vic production of Joe Penhall’s Mood Music .

Mood Music centres around two artists and their conflict of ownership over a particular song, and how this escalates into a legal and personal battle between the two. It’s a piece which draws up harsh realities of the music industry and interesting questions on whether any piece of art has untainted solo authorship. Let’s see what our reviewers thought…

Showing the pitfalls of the commercialisation of the music industry, Mood Music is a fascinating exploration on how quickly a creative relationship can meet a sour note.

I thought it was really interesting how there were very few music scenes and the song which the whole premise is based around, is barely heard. It’s an interesting idea, that the music itself is almost not important. The real conflict is all from these two personalities coming together. – Lauren via email

This is a really interesting point here, on how the music is very much the backdrop. The microphones loom over the action, but it’s through each character where the tension is created.

Here’s what some other reviewers thought…

I enjoyed the fluid structure of the piece, the conversations all bleeding into each other. Both musicians talking to their therapist about how they are the creative genius and the other would be nothing without them.

The piece is a deep insight into the idea of bullying behaviour – what was a disagreement all about intellectual property, quickly descends into personal attacks. There’s a huge undercurrent of the extremes and the sacrifices these two have made to pursue their careers, and all bubbles below the surface, giving two extremely well performed and enticing characters.
Tom via email

The beauty of satire is that it can highlight stories that need to be told. The scintillating Mood Music tells the inside story of the music industry and the harsh effects it can have on people.

Brilliantly staged through the use of a universal set, microphones hanging down from the ceiling and characters who never leave the stage all come together to portray a world of intensity, distrust and paranoia. As an audience member you feel as if you looking through the glass into a recording session and bear witness to the creative tension, elation and passion that is the music industry.

The darkly comedic tones that underscore the show are perfect for highlighting the injustices endured by Cat and the over bearing and bullying Bernard. Ben Chaplin and Seána Kerslake are wonderful as the two protagonists who take us on a rollercoaster of creating hit singles, winning awards to distrust and creative tension. As their creative relationship unfolds, their inner thoughts are shared with their respective lawyers and therapists. This all adds to the sense that despite the creative expression they are able to share through their music they are trapped by the industry.
Marcus by email

Thank you so much for all of your contributions to this round-up. This week we’ll be looking at the Southwark Playhouse’s production of Wasted - a musical based on the Bronte family. You will be able to watch it here.

As always make sure to share your thoughts, either via social media or by e-mailing [email protected]

Take Care, Reviewers!

Daniel Whateley

Programming & Events Co-Ordinator