Erin Hutchinson says The Beep Test is a must-see, good-natured mini-musical that’s far from a torturous test of stamina.
Review: Neylon and Peele, The Beep Test ·
Paper Mountain, 4 February 2020·
Review by Erin Hutchinson ·
With the school year beginning for many this week, it seems the perfect time for the world premiere of a musical about a middle-school PE class – and, gee whiz, The Beep Test is one class you should run to.
We’ve all been there – that test of physical fitness you either love or hate. The very mention of a beep test conjures up memories of torturous experiences and trials of stamina.
The Beep Test tracks class 7C and each student’s determination to be the last man standing. Their progress through each “beep” explores the dynamics of teenage relationships and youthful dreams, reminiscent of William Finn’s musical, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. I mean, if the structure works, why change it?
WAAPA graduates Jackson Peele (book and lyrics) and Conor Neylon (music and lyrics) nail the hilarity of the situation, throwing in some priceless iconic Aussie references. At times, the toxic masculinity was a little on the nose, but they redeem themselves and, overall, they ace it with tiny tributes to musicals we know and love, and with tight, inspired choreography.
Neylon and Peele also gathered an excellent team and the killer cast are an absolute joy to watch. Emily Wood and Jack Keen reprise their roles (from last year’s Julie Michael Cabaret Award-winning 10-minute version presented at WAAPA), and are joined by Zoe Crisp, Tim Ogborne and Jack Twelvetree.
Every voice has a moment to shine, though I would love to see more of Zoe Crisp in her part as last year’s reluctant runner-up, Jane. They made wonderful use of the limited (and non-theatre) space at Paper Mountain.
The Beep Test is heart-warming, side-splitting, mostly clean, good-natured fun. All parents, teachers and anyone who has a love-hate relationship with fitness will get a real kick out of this all-original mini-musical. The only test will be how to grab a ticket fast enough.
Picture top: The class of 7C are a joy to watch in The Beep Test. Photo supplied.