Rehab The Musical Review (January 2024)

Mike Cohen
4 min readJan 22, 2024
Pictures: Mark Senior

๐— ๐—ถ๐—ธ๐—ฒ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ป ๐—ด๐—ฒ๐˜๐˜€ ๐—ฎ๐—ฑ๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—ฅ๐—ฒ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ฏ ๐—ง๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐— ๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—ก๐—ฒ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐Ÿญ๐Ÿต๐Ÿฐ โ€” ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ฑ๐—ผ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐—ปโ€™๐˜ ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐—ธ ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜

Rock music fans of a certain age may recall in the 1970s the term โ€˜The New Wave of British Heavy Metalโ€™ was used to describe the quality of the bands coming through.

Now we have โ€˜The New Wave of British Musical Theatreโ€™.

You only have to look at some of the shows in Londonโ€™s West End and off-West End, along with smaller theatres around the country like Manchesterโ€™s Hope Mill, to realise that original British musicals are coming on strong.

Already in the West End, there is the queen of all musicals, Six, while Everybodyโ€™s Talking About Jamie is heading back to London for a few more weeks.

The quite new @Sohoplace is currently staging the beautiful and inspirational The Little Big Things; the hilarious Operation Mincemeat keeps extending at The Fortune Theatre; Sheffield-set Standing at the Skyโ€™s Edge โ€” the best thing I saw last year โ€” takes up residency at the Gillian Lynne Theatre in a couple of weeks; and Two Strangers (Carry a Cake Across New York) will be at the Criterion Theatre from April after wowing audiences at the Kiln Theatre, Kilburn.

And now comes the riotously funny โ€” and moving โ€” Rehab The Musical.

One only has to speak to Grant Black, who wrote the music and lyrics with Murray Lachlan Young, to feel the excitement and pride surrounding this production.

The venue is quite small, but the musical โ€” whose book was written by Elliot Davis โ€” is massive and boasts one of the best casts to take to the stage.

It does help that it stars my two favourite musical theatre performers โ€” fellow Mancunian Maiya Quansah-Breed and theatre royalty Jodie Steele. They possess two of the strongest voices to grace theatres, but they face stiff competition from the legendary Mica Paris.

What an absolute joy it is to watch (and listen to) Mica. Her and Sister Actโ€™s Beverley Knight are proof that you can make the transition from pop music to theatre . . . and conquer it.

Speaking of legends, they donโ€™t get much more iconic than Keith Allen. He exudes seediness (in a good way) as Malcolm Stone, the obnoxious manager of singer Kid Pop, played by rising star Christian Maynard, who I had previously seen in &Juliet.

Christian gets the swagger of a cocky pop star spot on as he is sent to rehab by a judge after getting caught in a newspaper sting snorting cocaine.

The opening song โ€” whose title is too rude for us to repeat (although it is similar to the name of a Roald Dahl character currently in the cinema) โ€” is a joy and a real earworm.

Grant told me that the venueโ€™s security guy was a bit taken aback as audience members walked past him singing the chorus, thinking it was aimed at him.

Kid Pop feels he is too cool for rehab and disrupts sessions by insulting some of the other โ€˜inmatesโ€™, including Phil Newman (Oscar Conlon-Morrey), a cross-dressing overeater with a desire to own a cheese shop, and tanning addict Barry Bronze (John Barr).

When Maiyaโ€™s stripper character Lucy Blake is sent into the rehab centre by Malcolm โ€” egged on by his assistant Beth Boscombe (Jodie Steele) โ€” to get pictures of Kid Pop in uncompromising positions, the pop star starts to discover his true self.

It doesnโ€™t matter that you can work out how it will all end, it is just a joy to go on the journey with the cast.

It would be rude not to mention the rest of the cast, Simon Shorten, Rebecca Thornhill, Carly Burns, Ben Mabberley and Lucy Sinclair, who are all superb.

The songs are all amazing. They go from the wildly over-the-top opening song to the wildly over-the-top Everyoneโ€™s Taking Cocaine. But there are also some incredibly moving tunes including Two Broken People, Letters Goodbye, Through His Eyes and Museum of Loss.

The latter sees Mica and Maiya deliver vocal performances that will have the tears dripping into your open mouths.

You may think Iโ€™ve gone too hyperbolic with this review, but take my words and multiply them by 10 โ€” and you get close to how good Rehab The Musical is.

Grantโ€™s dad Don is a legend in the musical theatre industry, having written shows like Sunset Boulevard, Bar Mitzvah Boy, Tell Me On a Sunday, as well as James Bond songs.

But Don will know he has to up his game as there is a new kid on the block โ€” and it is his!



Mike Cohen

Jewish Telegraph deputy editor and arts editor. Email with your Jewish arts stories