I Guess I Wish is a new musical written by Yale student Jeremy Lloyd, that had never before been performed in the UK ahead of its premiere this week courtesy of new production company Lights Up Entertainment.
Clocking in at just over 50 minutes, it’s a quite unusual piece of work, a collection of eleven songs, each of which gives a snapshot into a life. These musical vignettes are in turns funny and moving, and prove a surprisingly effective device considering the short time each performer has to get their message across. As can be garnered from the show’s title, each piece deals with dreams and reality, love and the stuff of life.
A talented quintet of vocalists and eight (count ’em!) directors — all LIPA students with one or two exceptions — split the numbers. We meet the schoolboy trying to find the courage to tell his crush how he feels (This Must Be Love), a college student telling herself not to be so promiscuous (Thirteen), a young girl struggling with her faith (I Wish There Was a God), the girl looking for salvation in a new relationship (Saved), among others. We get to revisit most of their stories in later numbers, and find things were not all they seemed to be.
Camille Favre, who performed several numbers, including signature tune It Started in the Winter, proved an outstanding talent, with a clear and distinctive voice that was only marred by the occasional overdoing of effects on his microphone.
Jenny Martyn, who impressed in What We Did Next’s Into the Woods last year, has a fantastic, big voice full of character, and Charlotte Ashdown put in a lovely performance as the girl wishing for God. Evie Pickerill and Jake Astbury-Sabin completed the cast.
Assured and understated musical accompaniment came from musical director Michael Bourne and a single keyboard. Sitting in the nearest seat to this probably wasn’t the smartest idea, as the music sometimes drowned out the singing — although I heard other people mention this too so it mightn’t be so churlish an observation. Having never seen a musical show in the smaller Unity space before, perhaps the sound didn’t travel too well.
Regardless of that, this was a show that invited the audience to “close your eyes and submerge yourself in the stories the characters want to tell you”, and was told and performed so simply and effectively, it was impossible not to.