A New Musical: ‘The Comedian’ Comes To Brum

Interview with Josh Sood, who has co-written a new musical to be performed at the Guild.

‘The Comedian’ is a new student written musical being put on by GMTG and Josh Sood productions. The book and lyrics are written by Leo West, who is also directing and the music is written by Josh Sood, who is co-producing. We caught up with Josh to find out what it’s all about.

What made you decide to write your own musical?

I approached a friend, Leo West, last year and proposed it. Then after a few months we came up with the premise. I’ve previously conducted a lot of shows and always wanted to try writing my own musical because I have a love and passion for musical theatre. I wrote a few shows in the past but they were never performed, it’s all been good practice though.

Josh Sood with Alistair Robertson

Josh Sood with Alistair Robertson (orchestrator)

How has the process of working with Leo and the cast been?

Leo and I complement each other’s skill set, I do everything he can’t do and he does everything I can’t do. We’re on the same page with the show so it’s really easy. We don’t have to speak in a room together, it’s just a look and he’ll write a new lyric in. It’s become intuitive. We have the same vision. We were worried before the read through but the cast really got into it and filled us with confidence. Their enthusiasm makes our process easy.

Matt McConnell, a first year drama student, has the leading role. He’s a great singer and he can nail the material, he’s really worked hard to get into the character. Everyone’s put a lot of effort into it. Loads of freshers are in the cast as well as old hands, it’s a nice mixture and has been good to meet new people.

Matt McConnell in action

Matt McConnell in action

What can people expect from the musical? What’s it all about?

It’s about contemporary celebrity and media culture. We centre on a stand up comic/TV and game show host and what we see in the media from his perspective. The other characters are close to him, his manager and fiancé… The show is mainly about betrayal and love. It’s not your typical musical with jazz hands, we call it a rock operetta. We’re going for a more realistic approach with the acting. Matt McConnell describes the show as ‘comic, disastrous and tragic all sort of rolled into one’ which I think is a good way of looking at it!


What has been your inspiration for the show?

It’s alternative music. Our influences were Blink 182, Oasis, Muse, what you’d find on a rock album but with a lot of variation. The different styles of music help to make the narrative clearer. I told Alistair Robertson, who’s doing the orchestration, to make it sound like it could come out of a Green Day or Red Hot Chili Peppers album, but we also have a rap song in it. We hope that the amalgamation of different musical styles stops the show from becoming monotonous.


Do you have any hopes for the future of the show after it’s been performed in Birmingham?

Nothing is set in stone – maybe London fringe theatre or Edinburgh, though the story is quite timely, with scandals about drugs and celebrities. The show explores these issues from the perspective of those that it actually affects, actors and such like. But Leo and I are thinking about working on next musical, so watch this space!

‘The Comedian’ is being performed from 25th February to 1st March 2014 in the Debating Hall, Guild of Students. Tickets available online.


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