IT’S Liverpool in the mid-1990s and wannabe singer-songwriter Cathy is desperate for her big break.
Then she is reunited with her childhood sweetheart – and meets a record producer who could make her dreams come true.
It’s an appealing rags to (almost) riches tale, delivered by a talented cast who look like they’ve been together for years.
The story is loosely based on the personal experiences of Maria Cavanagh and Indra Nathaniel, who clearly have an ear for a melody. The songs (particularly the foot-tapping Get Ready and touching ballad If I Only Had) are instantly memorable.
There are wonderfully smoky vocals from Tricia McTeague (Cathy) and some lovely comedy moments, particularly from Vicky Jones and James Edgington as ditzy Alfie and Margy and Jay Podmore, whose quick wit turned a set malfunction into an unexpected highlight. Charlie Griffiths steals every scene she’s in as foxy friend Nicky.
Heart and Soul delivers an ambitious mix of love, friendship, ambition and the bond between mother and daughter – but it’s a theme or two too many.
The script tries too hard to do everything and could do with losing some superfluous plot strands (and 20-30 minutes).
Cathy’s relationship with her parents and her mother’s thwarted ambitions could fit in a show of their own but just feel underdeveloped. A pregnancy is presented as a pivotal moment but is never resolved.
As it stands, Heart and Soul is a good Liverpool musical – but it’s not yet a great one.