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Music Review

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Original Studio Cast Recording


Music: Rich Morel
Lyrics: Rich Morel
Performed by: Alan Cumming, Jesse Clasen, Betsy Wright, Martina Topley-Bird and Jason Barnes
Label: Broadway Records
Release Date: 12 April 2019

There have been a flurry of cast recordings from Broadway Records over the years, and the last few months have been no exception. It’s to their credit that they work tirelessly to capture shows for generations to come - show that might otherwise get lost or forgotten. The latest one to make it on my review pile is the original studio cast recording of Struck.

Flowers is a faded, beat up haggard rock star. Years after his last hit record and massive world tours (with his now broken up band Ultra Violence), Struck is the story of this weathered man's journey to reclaim the stardom, and success he once had. While mindlessly scrolling for satisfaction, Flowers stumbled upon an article about a postal worker who was struck by lightning. The lightning strike turned this once non-musical postman into a brilliant classical pianist. Voila! Flowers has found his path to reignite his career. Helping Flowers on his journey are his loyal assistant Chico (who builds him fantastical machines to help him get close to the lighting), Breezy his effervescent much younger girlfriend, and a cast of characters including Chico's mother Elena, Flowers' old bandmates and Sister Midnight, a queer dive bar performer who’s seen it all and knows the power of unity. Flowers follows many paths in an attempt to get back to where he had once been and learns from each of the characters he is lucky enough to have guiding him.

The cast of Struck is led by Alan Cumming as Flowers, Jesse Clasen as Chico, Betsy Wright as Breezy, Martina Topley-Bird as Elena, and Jason Barnes as Sister Midnight. I must admit that, despite the casting, I found it hard to bond with this recording. It’s a very rock/indy influenced score, and I found it hard to visualise seeing this in a theatre. As far as I know, it’s the first forage into the theatre environment for the composer, Rich Morel, and I’m not sure how this will ever morph into a theatre score.

That said, I did enjoy a couple of the numbers, and the production on the album is excellent. 'The Last Curtain Call' has a haunting theme to it, and extremely well presented. I also liked the final track on the album, 'I Am The Sound', with its very '70s vibe.

It will be interesting to see where this goes in future, but something a rock enthusiast may enjoy at the moment, rather than a theatre audience.


Ian Gude

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