This new musical about a local pub has got its heart in the right place. There are brilliant songs and well-rounded characters that are easy to relate to. Played by an energetic cast and a strong piano/guitar/cello combo, with strong harmonies and exciting orchestration, The Local has the potential to grow into something bigger.
Liz has been running a pub for 15 years when she finds out the landlord will close the venue in order to transform the building into luxury apartments. She protests and tries to prevent the closure, with the help of her punters, but it’s a hard battle. The ending of the show is strong and writers Dominic Lo and Cate Berry have done well to go down this route: it’s not a predictable happy ending, but there’s hope for something new on the horizon.
The show contains some beautiful songs, with 'Cassie and Erin', a duet about a fading friendship between two old school friends, one of the highlights (sung by Lana O'Kell and Rebekah Austin as Cassie and Erin). Others might need a bit more polishing: some songs lose their poetry and get too telling, others are hindered by scansion problems. The dialogue is strong, but when the plot gets hurried along it all ends up being somewhat abrupt. On top of that, three times in a row a character walks out when an argument heats up. With those speed bumps ironed out, this particular Local won’t be closing down anytime soon.