By Lucy Osborne
In such a challenging year, it is more imperative than ever to find enjoyable (and Covid safe ways) of keeping theatre alive. Not seeing any live theatre over the past year has left a large hole in my heart, but EUSOG's ‘Click to Connect’ has thankfully begun to fill this void with its witty humour and sweet narratives.
‘Click to Connect’ is a new original musical created by six incredibly talented girls from Edinburgh University Savoy Opera Group and EUTV. It follows the story of a group of lovers and friends navigating the challenging waters of life and love in lockdown. The musical manages to show off a variety of so many kinds of love, from a troubled marriage to rejection and battling the dreaded friendship zone. It provides a powerful insight into the changing dynamic of dating in the midst of a global pandemic.
Music director Maddy Baron has orchestrated the most wonderful rock inspired soundtrack. It distinctly reminded me of the happy tunes of the likes of McFly and Busted. This sense of nostalgia made the characters narratives even more appealing. Amy’s singing (played by Lucy Whelan) in particular was truly astounding. Her soulful melodies following the trials and tribulations of the questioning of her sexuality were a delight to watch; the emotion was palpable even over computer screen – which is no easy feat. Annie Doherty who plays Lex also said what a fun challenge it was “to adapt to trying to convey emotions to a camera in my bedroom rather than an audience in person”. This new format for theatre, whilst limiting, also allowed the Edinburgh University Savoy Opera Group and EUTV to present the comical factors of bad connection and needing a premium version to stay on the call; this made the musical thoroughly relatable in our contemporary society and provided humour for both me and my Mum!
‘Click to Connect’ also boasts wonderful feminist mantras, my particular favourite being “if he’s not down for your Monday he doesn’t deserve your Saturday night”. It helps young people watching the musical remember their self-worth which may have understandably taken a knock during lockdown. There were so many hilarious one-liners such as “growing up is fucking exhausting” paired with shockingly melancholic exclamations of “I just feel so lost and cold” that balance the tone of the musical perfectly, allowing the audience to experience the same range of emotions as the characters.
I was very impressed with the slick editing of the musical as it was all filmed over zoom. They still managed to incorporate tender and intimate moments of direct address which really helped bring the characters to life. As someone who was thoroughly fed up with endless zoom quizzes and birthday drinks, ‘Click to Connect’ brought a surprising freshness to the idea of pandemic friendly theatre. The simplistic writing style allows for the audiences own interpretation of the narrative; in particular the cliff hanger left between Sam and Amy allows us to dictate our own ending, creating an interesting talking point and leaving scope for the story to be continued further.
The main benefit of the musical being filmed over zoom has to be the cameo of George’s dog (George played by Sebastian Schneeberger)! It would be no lie to say the dog helped solve their marital argument with is cuteness. Lucy Whelan who plays Amy noted what a privilege it was to “work on an original musical when so much art is suffering”. I certainly felt very lucky to be watching such creative and thought-provoking theatre. I could not recommend ‘Click to Connect’ enough, certainly keep your eye out for future Edinburgh University Savoy Opera Group and EUTV musical’s. Their talent is astounding, it was amazingly inspiring to watch such budding young actors who were so passionate about theatre in jubilation at being able to perform again. After the tumultuous year of 2020, the sweet conclusions in ‘Click to Connect’ reflected the festive joy of December and set the hopeful tone for 2021, theatre may just be the best gift at the moment and so please do watch a future production if you get the chance.