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Once Upon a Time in New Jersey - One4Review

The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Musical Theatre course are showcasing three new musicals at this years fringe. ‘The Frog Prince’ and ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’ have already been reviewed this is the third one ‘Once Upon a time in New Jersey’. Billed as a charming musical set in nostalgic 1950’s New Jersey. With a score encompassing ballads, folk, opera and rock’n’roll. This melodramatic, farcical, romance is an ideal opportunity for the cast to ‘ham’ things up as much as they can making all the characters larger than life. The director Nick Phillips says “For all its echoes of the past its heart speaks to our time.” Our Narrator, Andrew Short introduces each character and scene as well as also portraying Ed Vendetta a gangster hit man. In this the story of Vinnie LoBianko, Aiden Currie, who lives at home with his mother, he works in the family deli and is in love with Angie Moscato, Natalie Toyne. Angie treats him as her best friend and discusses her love for wide boy rebel, Rocco Fabrizio, HR Bradford. Vinnie’s love for Angie keeps him quiet although he occasionally attempts to warn her away from the womanising Rocco. When Rocco stands up Angie for a date with femme fetal Celeste Castiglione, Anna Mateo Cuadros, wife of the infamous gangster Billy. Vinnie is there with a shoulder for her to cry on. Billy Castiglione, Neil Campbell discovers the liaison and sets Ed Vendetta on Rocco’s trail. This is when the fun starts, discovering the threat against his life Rocco persuades Vinnie to take his place for a week, but Vinnie can’t quite cope, he is just too nice to everyone. When Angie turns up determined to have Rocco seduce her, it is just all too much for him. The final explosive scene includes everyone in the deli. Well written with a nice mix of songs, simple set, interesting costumes and choreography. Portrayed by a superbly talented cast this is one of the should see musicals of the fringe. *****

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