Bailiwick soars with a new musical about four British buddies surviving a layover in a Spanish airport by reliving the events of their sun-blistered, booze-soaked holiday together. The title foreshadows these teenagers’ journey toward self-discovery, accomplished while waiting for their connecting flight.
Dougal Irvine’s coming of age musical, while scenically confined to the waiting area, breaks through the airport lounge walls with fantasies and flashbacks of evenings spent with Sophie, a fellow traveler. In “Rashomon" style, Sophie is remembered by each boy in widely differing accounts. Hidden secrets, good-natured insults, anxieties and dreams flow naturally through the dialogue and songs which, supported by Tom Mullen’s athletic choreography and Kevin Mayes’ musical direction, have a boy-band flair. Irvine’s group of friends feels genuine and his contemporary, realistic dialogue (full of British slang) captures the essence of today’s youth.
The theatre space has slickly been transformed into an airline terminal; tickets are exchanged for programs that resemble boarding passes by surly flight attendants, who become the ensemble. Andrea Larson’s sassy, enigmatic Sophie is a ray of sunshine. But the show belongs to the four perfectly cast boys. Dan Beno makes a likable JB, the good-looking ringleader of the group; Erik Kaiko’s sweet Ross just wants his friends’ approval but tires of living under JB’s brotherly protective eye. Pete is played with sarcasm by Jay W. Cullen, hiding his anger behind insults; and Devin Archer’s Jordan is warm, sensitive and heartbreaking, finally acknowledging his sexuality. Through the songs and the banter we’re ultimately reminded, as Irvine says, that “friends bring out the best in you.”