Southwark Theatre, London, runs until July 20

THE theatre was rammed for Fiver, the new musical by Brighton playwright Alex James Ellison.

The lights went up and we found ourselves on the street – the stage was decked out with paving slabs, brickwork, and a character on the kerbside begging for a fiver.

The play’s action tracks a £5 note through the hands of a string of characters played by five actors.

Testing a fresh idea like this is always admirable.

But at times here the conceit seems forgotten and suddenly remembered with a big musical number and a string of cash transactions.

The small cast swap roles fast.

There is little time for building relationships with characters.

Each performer had their time to shine, and Dan Buckley stood out in every role.

But as we whisk past a bereaved dad, a proposal, and a freshly dumped twenty something, it became clear the play’s unifying principle

isn’t the fiver – it’s heart-wrench.

But without time to feel sympathy for the characters, their feelings seem out of place and a little ridiculous.

Plots seemed conjured up in minutes just to milk out emotive songs.

It was awful, but everyone loved it.

Laurie Churchman