Color Inside the Lines, theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, Review

Color Inside the Lines Jenny Stafford
Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Flying Solo! Presents Jenny Stafford
Jenny Stafford (writer / composer), Penny Cole (director / producer), Sarah Johnson (dramaturg), Mark Castellano (musical director), Erin Buterbaugh (movement consultant), Brian Miller (technical consultant).
Jenny Stafford, Mark Castellano (guitarist).
Running time

“One time in Chicago I was at a dive bar and a drag queen read my palm and said I’d never find love.”

So starts the opening number in this musical show about memories, destiny and love.

It’s not something Jenny believes in, but when someone gazes into your future … and so far she is solo (albeit with a guitarist).

Her pondering takes us back to High School years in the 1990’s and a drama club with the usual mix of closet gays, awkward nerds and the good-looking class President.  It’s a sharply delineated set of largely misfits and losers, within which there is a hierarchy that allows promotion if someone breaks a leg and demotion if you suck.  She sits somewhere about the middle of this tiered structure drawn on a whiteboard, along with her possible love interests.

There is Michael who gets overlooked and the handsome Gavin, who is style over substance, with bit players Stephen and Craig. 

Feeling left out, Jenny takes part in data matching to match a date.  By filling in a Scantron test scoring card she hopes by multiple choice to find her soulmate. Provided you colour only within the boxes the machine can’t make mistakes, but when her Prom date is social outcast Michael, she is both disappointed and confused.

Twenty years on she is not bitter, well OK she is, but she looks back at the people she erased from her life and wonders what might have been had she the courage to speak out and colour outside the lines, not caring what other people might think.

The journey will make her face up to making connections with people and look outside those bubbles at the complicated, messy thing that is life and the nature of love.

This is a witty, well-constructed monologue with appealing songs.  The presentation is simple and, while the almost lecture style at first appears a little awkward, it fits nicely. Stafford’s vocals are clear, despite a bit of noise intrusion in the theatre space.

It ticks the boxes if you like a bittersweet, but ultimately uplifting rom-com and if you don’t … perhaps you should colour outside the lines.

Show Times: 5 to 27 (not 7, 10, 14, 17, 21, 24) August 2022 at 5.35pm.

Tickets: £5 to £12 (£10).

Suitability: 8+.