I Heart Michael Ball - Etcetera Theatre
A Tale of Grief and Inherited Obsession
Here we are at the 10th bi-annual meeting of the Michael Ball Appreciation Society, ready to discuss the succulent voice of the baritone himself. Alex, the founder of the group guides us through the meeting, sharing his journey as an avid fan of the musician and why Michael Ball is such an important person in his life. Oh, and he has a surprise for us waiting in the next room…
Alex explains that he was introduced to Michael by his older brother and they bonded over his extensive catalogue of covers and musicals. He was an escape for them both in their formative years and that early impression lingers on to this day. As Alex talks lovingly about Ball and his impact it is impossible not to ignore the dark undertones of an obsession gone too far.
Alex Millington (both writer and solo performer) is terrifyingly engaging and naively sympathetic as founder of the Michael Ball Appreciation Society. He expertly interacts with the audience, at times making unwavering eye contact that lingers long enough to leave you feeling uneasy but also will have you chuckling due to the absurdity of the I♥MB experience (yes this show is an experience). From the moment he enters the space he is personable and likeable but expertly manages the sinister character shift as the play progresses. Put simply, Millington is exceptional.
This production is clearly a labour of love and not just a love for Mr Michael Ball. It is a production that has been crafted and honed to be hilarious and alarming but also packed with truth, whether that be concerning abuse, grief or just wanting to be a part of something. Yes, at times it is a little rough around the edges but that merely adds to the vibe of the show. I am excited to see where this production goes and expect it to be playing to packed audiences at fringes and studios across the country very soon - all of them wearing their I♥MB badges with pride.
Clapham Fringe Tickets