Bursting onto the stage at NEON 194 on 12 January, Rehab the Musical is the must-see production of 2024. It explores the serious subjects of mental health, fame and addition, but with plenty of humour and heart – and of course, some fantastic songs. Starring Keith Allen as scheming PR man Malcolm Stone and featuring soul legend Mica Paris as Martha Prosser, it’s a riot of 90s style music, cheeky entertainment and romance. But what is the story behind this crazy, heartbreaking piece of musical theatre?
It’s 1999 and a jaded pop star - dubbed Kid Pop - finds himself in court after he’s photographed by the press snorting cocaine. An understanding judge gives the 26 year old a choice: jail time or a six-week stay at a rehabilitation centre called The Glade. Kid thinks it’s a no-brainer. After all, surely rehab will be a holiday?
But once in the facility, Kid Pop finds he’s no longer the star of the show. Alongside three other patients, he begins to explore his addiction, taking the first steps from denial to recovery. Meanwhile, in the outside world, Kid’s PR man is concocting all sorts of schemes to keep his client in the headlines. This includes recruiting Lucy, a young mum who’s down on her luck, and paying her to check herself into The Glade. The result is a life-threatening dilemma.
Although a darkly comic and ultimately heartwarming tale of redemption, Rehab the Musical taps into a serious story that affects many across the UK. As the show’s website states, some 250,000 British people are in contact with drug and alcohol services every year, with over 130,000 entering treatment for addiction from April 2020 – March 2021. Beneath its light-hearted facade is an emotional, thought-provoking commentary on addiction and its impact on people of all ages, genders and backgrounds.
The show draws on the experiences of writers Grant Black and Murray Lachlan Young, both of whom have had illustrious careers in the music industry. Black checked himself into rehab following a painful divorce and a growing cocaine habit, while Young had experienced the gaping emptiness of depression after crashing down from the height of Britpop success. Together with psychotherapist and Oscar-nominated musical scriptwriter Elliot Davis, they penned Rehab the Musical, bringing a message of positivity, hope and redemption to the story of addiction.
If your diary is looking a little scant in the new year, book your Rehab the Musical tickets today and give yourself and your friends something to look forward to. Playing at NEON 194 in Piccadilly from 12 January to 17 February 2024, the show is sure to sweep you up with its stunning score and emotional narrative. Tickets start from £36.50 and can be purchased online through KX Tickets, so don’t miss out!