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Payback: The Musical - Riverside Studios

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

PAYBACK: The Musical, a satirical new musical starring Olivier Award-winner Matthew White, runs at Riverside Studios from June 12 to June 30, 2013.

This 2016 tale of love, written by Paul Rayfield and directed and developed by Simon Greiff, stretches from Brazil to England. Featuring a blend of jazz, Latin and traditional ballads, Payback: The Musical is a wry, contemporary look at today’s celebrity and story hungry media culture.

A young orphaned couple from Rio’s favelas, who are struggling financially with their internet cafe, enter Payback, a paternity TV show in England. The government has privatised paternity claims and Payback aims to track down errant fathers and pay the injured party compensation.

But the reality TV show is not quite reality, and the young couple are in danger of being nothing more than a solution to diving ratings, a soft target for the cynical and manipulative host, Matt Matthews, and a distraction to the government’s inability to deal with paternity claims.

Director Simon Greiff said: “Over the last four years I have been at the forefront in helping to develop new writing, working closely with the UK writers and composers of new musicals. Payback is a rare thing – an original British musical. Paul Rayfield has created a wonderfully satirical story, with great songs, that will make you question the state of celebrityville and how 15 minutes of fame comes at a cost.”

Matthew White’s acting credits include Ragtime (Piccadilly Theatre, 2004 Olivier nomination for Best Supporting Actor), Chicago (Adelphi Theatre), The Phantom of the Opera (Her Majesty’s Theatre), Kiss of the Spiderwoman (Shaftesbury Theatre), Les Miserables (Palace Theatre) and Cinderella (Old Vic). On screen, he has appeared in Law and Order UK, Doctor Who and Judge John Deed.

White’s directing credits include Top Hat (Aldwych Theatre, three 2013 Olivier awards, including Best New Musical), Sweet Charity (Menier Chocolate Factory/Theatre Royal, Haymarket), Little Shop of Horrors (Menier Chocolate Factory/Duke of York’s Theatre), The Last Five Years (Menier Chocolate Factory), Maria Friedman – By Special Arrangement (Donmar Warehouse) and Closer Than Ever (Jermyn Street Theatre).

Joining White in Payback: The Musical are Katie Bernstein (Rent, UK tour) as Isabel/Tracy, Sarah Earnshaw (Spamalot, Wicked) as Sam, Adam Flynn as Joe, Howard Samuels as Billy Life, Alan Vicary (Me and My Girl, Adelphi Theatre, Les Miserables, Palace Theatre, The Phantom of the Opera, national tour) as Father Colin and James Yeoburn as Guilherme.

Payback: The Musical has musical direction by Nick Larkin, choreography by Adam Murray (currently the associate choreographer on Wicked), LX design by Robert Casey, set design by Kate Unwin and AV design by Laura Lomax.

Payback: The Musical is suitable for ages 12+.

Tickets: £16, £14 concessions – available from the box office on 020 8237 1111 or online at

Times: 7.45pm (no Sundays or Mondays), matinees Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 3pm.

For more information visit

Hutch continues at Riverside Studios until Saturday, June 8, 2013.

Running Time: 2 hours (with an interval).