No Limits – A Song Cycle by Sam Thomas
15th to 26th Feb, 2023
Do you feel like everyone is winning at life? Does everyone seem so further ahead?
No Limits, the world premiere production of Sam Thomas’ popular song cycle, depicts the anxieties, faith, fight, and love that we can all experience. Set in one simple London apartment, you meet the residents from across time as they confess their dreams, fall in love, move on, and catfish their neighbour.
Featuring stories of the heartfelt, queer and even kinky kind, No Limits, highlights that we are all in the same boat and that we can always overcome our setbacks with enough self-belief. A show with heart, humour, LGBTQ+ stories, and a message we should all remember: … “Know no limits!”
Review by Richard Lambert, 3 Stars
A mostly experienced cast have been brought together to produce this endearing musical. Some beautiful songs and musicality will no doubt ensure that this musical premiere at the Turbine Theatre will be a firm favourite on the musical theatre scene. Who needs dialogue when the stories are all there in the lyrics?
A fabulous set by Justin Williams places us in the interior of a flat as the cast “move in” at the start and “move out” at the end of the show. Pictures on the floor waiting to be hung, one of them a flat screen shows some very nice high quality video content. Sadly the “bedroom” moving in box was placed on the stage in front of this screen obscuring some of it for the entire show.
Alex Musgrave‘s lighting favoured a concert style, rather than an interior flat’s naturalistic setting. Once we’d got through the first song and accepted this concept, it worked well, nicely colourful while keeping the faces illuminated throughout to enhance the singing. At one point, the lighting described a rather classy nightclub location, very effectively taking us out of the flat.
The orchestra, led by Ella Ingram, sounded grand! No rest for these unseen heroes on this show.
The choreography was good but some of the cast were not dancers so they looked slightly awkward, particularly when doing some of the slow-motion movements.
There was a parade of costumes throughout the show. After each number cast could be seen going back and forth to the dressing room as the route was past the audience entrance. But despite what was likely a large costume spend, rarely was a ‘matched set’ shown on stage and there were many questionable costume choices.
Sadly, not all of the cast were the strongest of singers. Stand-out singing and performance goes to Hannah Lowther who was incredible. The show needs more time to settle before all the harmonies will come together. With an over-amplified sound system there’s nowhere to hide if you struggle to change vocal register or come in on a note a little unsure of your pitch. An MD on a fringe show will never have enough time to get the show together, sort the orchestra and also be a vocal coach……but a vocal coach would really help shape this show into its potential.
An enjoyable evening of musical entertainment which got a standing ovation from the audience.
Photo credit: Danny Kaan
#DREAMER – Natalie May Paris (She/Her)
#ROMANTIC – Owen Clayton (They/He)
#FIGHTER – Michael Mather (He/Him)
#CATFISH – Hannah Lowther (She/ Her)
#FUNEMPLOYED – Mary Moore (She/They)
#Swing – Saffie Needham (She/Her)
Ella Ingram – Piano & Keys 1 – She Her
Debbi Clarke – Keys 2 – She/her
Ben Quilter – Drums – He/him
Amy Shaw – Guitar – She/her
Meelie Traill – Bass – She/her
Producer – Sam Caldwell, Paper House Productions (He/Him)
Director – Dean Johnson (He/Him)
Musical Director – Ella Ingram (She/Her)
Associate Director – Liv Byrom (She/Her)
Choreographer – Rhys Wilkinson (He/Him)
Set Design – Justin Williams (He/Him)
Lighting Design – Alex Musgrave (He/Him)
Production Manager – Adam Goldring (He/Him)
Stage Manager – Jack Evans (He/Him)
About Paper House Productions
Paper House Productions was founded in 2020 by Sam Caldwell. Sam set up the company during the worldwide Covid-19 Pandemic with the aim to help graduates get back onto stage and step into the industry when theatres re-opened. In 2021 after the third UK lockdown ended, Sam Produced ‘Curtain Up’, A Live concert at The Albany in London and successfully helped many Grads get back performing for the first time in over a year.
Since then, Paper House has gone onto produce some notable work and numerous sell out productions at The Other Palace and The Union Theatre. Paper House now aims to focus on new work and upcoming musicals, Starting with No Limits.
No Limits – A Song Cycle by Sam Thomas
Wednesday 15th February – Sunday 26th February 2023
Turbine Theatre, Arches Lane, Circus West, London, SW11 8AB
Performance time: 7.30 pm Tuesday – Saturday, 3pm Wednesday & Saturday, 4pm on Sunday.
Tickets: From £29.50
Duration: Act 1 – 45 minutes, Act 2 – 45 minutes. 15-minute interval.
Age Recommendation: 12+
Trigger Warnings / Themes: Flashing Lights, Haze, Explicit language, and adult themes