The entertainment industry finds itself endlessly fascinating. From 42nd Street and A Chorus Line to The Player and Singin’ in the Rain, moviemakers and theatrical impresarios alike can’t resist looking inward. When the story is engaging and/or the satire biting, it’s a good strategy, but woollier fare looks like pure self-absorption. Fortunately, new fringe musical Ushers, now in the Charing Cross main space, generally lands on the amiable, tongue-in-cheek end of the spectrum.
Part of its appeal comes from focussing not on the backstage life of glamorous leading ladies or powerful producers, but on the beleaguered employees flogging programmes and mopping up spilt drinks, just a few feet from the bright lights of stardom. It’s a strong premise, and adding to the relatable theme of thwarted ambition, there are two romance plots helping make the show accessible to audience members who aren’t regular readers of The Stage.