Fresher: The Musical

The angst and anxiety of starting university - put to music

By Jennifer Lipman, August 22, 2011

Remember your first week of university?

Those awkward conversations about your where you’re from, the endless repetition of course choice and the terror of chatting to someone whose name you just cannot remember. The drinking, the flirting, the pressure of the first impression.

Remember those things. Then add a catchy soundtrack, a plot drawn from experience and an enthusiastic young cast, and you've got Fresher: The Musical.

If it sounds like a simple formula, it is. But it's also a very good one, with a sharp script, pitch-perfect characters and plenty of laughs.

Produced by Nottingham University graduates Adam Paulden and Matt Leventhall, and the winner of the Best New Musical at last year's festival, Fresher brings together the angst and anxiety of being 18 and desperate to impress.

We meet five first-year students, thrown together as they embark on a journey of freedom, vodka and heartache. There's the slightly sadistic rudeboy, the prissy miss perfect, and the one who is inevitably the butt of everybody else’s jokes.

Over an hour they laugh, cry, bond, grow emotionally and overdose on Red Bull. The drama is hyped-up, the dialogue ever so intense and faintly absurd; just as the start of university is.

Any student or graduate will recognise the characters and identify with what they are going through. There are cheap jokes and a few too many "boxes ticked" in the plot, but not enough to ruin the fun.

You won't learn anything and they’ll be parts you won’t remember, but you will have a laugh. Just like freshers week should be.

Pleasance Dome, until August 29

Last updated: 10:55am, August 22 2011