The Stage Online, Landor Theatre, 2004
Muscles! is brilliantly theatrical. The punchy songs and feelgood dialogue certainly show the writers’ love of the genre and this new musical effortlessly ridicules today’s work-out fanatics.
Reid is keen to expose the shallowness of contemporary values and the contrast between modern PR gurus and the older boxers who once presided over inner city gyms. With a well-structured plot, he successfully dramatises the conflict between two very different health icons.
First up is Hyacinth Green, a toned young businesswoman who has become a household name in the world of health videos, gym multiplexes and sportswear. Her opponent is Brian, a headstrong boxer who is determined not to surrender his weights and punch bag to her corporate clutches. As each is forced to confront what they truly believe in, Brian pushes himself to the peak of physical condition - while Hyacinth recognises that her real battle is to retain ownership of the HG brand her loveless fiance craves.
Stuart Boother as the hero Brian and Harry Dickman as his elderly supporter give particularly fine performances. Chris Coleman as the PR guy that Hyacinth ultimately falls for is also very well cast. Reid’s script, however, remains the most significant triumph of the production.