Dougal Irvine’s Departure Lounge is an ode to lad culture, a cultural kindred spirit of The Inbetweeners, with insults slung around between friends in song. In the nine years since its debut, a show with a “Brits on Tour” theme can become outdated. Despite a new production and an enthusiastic cast, energy flags from an early stage.
The five-strong cast have collaborated with director Joshua Schumann on choreography and direction. This works well for the choreography: watching the lads box-stepping and swaying fits the tone of boys’ holiday camaraderie and provides a fun dynamism without the need to tap dance around Malaga airport. When it comes to directorial decisions, the input of several people has the effect of confusing things for the sake of a joke.
It’s not such a problem that three of the four “lads” do not look like they’ve only just finished their A-levels, but it's harder to overlook the issues with vocal range. Irving’s score is played capably by Jazz Bullen, but solos reveal the difficulty of reaching the higher range for all performers. Likewise, harmonies on the whole are fine but one flat note spoils the fullness of the sound. In particular, the rapping of ‘Thursday Night’ only highlights these harmonies, making any mistakes more glaring. There’s some nice work on creating the club scenes in Malaga, but no thumping music can drown out the discordance of those few bum notes.