‘A really compelling piece of theatre’

posterReview: Melody – A Musical by Nia Williams

The Jam Factory, Oxford, 9th June 2019

This was the second showing of new musical Melody by the Oxford-based writer and musician Nia Williams, and after seeing some of the enthusiastic feedback to the April premiere I went along to The Jam Factory with high expectations. I wasn’t disappointed.

The hapless title character leads what appears to be a rather dull, solitary life with a steady job as a hotel receptionist and a penchant for buttered digestive biscuits. When she wins a free singing lesson, and with it the chance to fulfil a childhood ambition, it looks as though Melody is finally getting some excitement in her life. But her singing lesson takes a dramatic turn as she pours her heart out to the somewhat bemused singing teacher, and out tumbles one shocking revelation after another. Melody, it seems, is not quite the person we thought she was.

Nia Williams is a gifted and imaginative storyteller who springs surprises on her audience with immaculate timing and delivery. The music helps create atmosphere and tension, but it is the storytelling and the witty, incisive lyrics that really triumph here. There are laughs a-plenty in this 75-minute piece, but it is also poignant, thought-provoking and utterly engrossing, with the dramatic revelations during the singing lesson turning this into a really compelling piece of theatre.

Marilyn Moore injects lots of energy and sparkle into the title role, while Guy Brigg, as ‘Everyone else’, switches deftly – and often humorously – between a myriad different characters. Nia Williams provides solid support on the keyboards, technical directors John Alcock and Steve Mellin create subtle but effective lighting, and director Wayne Brown ensures a polished and lively production.

There’s another chance to catch Melody at The Jericho Tavern on Sunday 23rd June at 7.30pm. Tickets: 01865 305305 or www.ticketsoxford.com.


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