“Mood Music” lays bare the exploitative side of the music industry

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GREAT music captures and records the most subtle and fleeting shades of human emotion. But if it is ever to reach an audience, the ineffable must not only be bottled. It must be packaged, labelled, copyrighted, advertised and finally sold for a profit—and all without losing the grain of emotional truth that made it so good in the first place. “Mood Music”, a new play by Joe Penhall (“Mindhunter”), stages the collision of emotion with tangled layers of producers, managers, lawyers and industry suits. 

The play’s central duo of hit-making musicians, singer Cat (Seána Kerslake) and “artist-producer” Bernard (Ben Chaplin), are the twin poles of that contradiction. Cat is a young musical autodidact—both fiercely talented and plain old fierce—with an Irish accent more of a thwack than a lilt. If Cat’s talent is raw, the grizzled Bernard’s is over-cooked, soured by decades of disillusionment. Played by Mr Chaplin with anti-heroic verve, Bernard is the archetype of the self-aggrandising entertainment industry ogre. His…Continue reading

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