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Member Since 13 Feb 2007
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 09:16 PM

#300941 A View From The Bridge

Posted steveatplays on Yesterday, 06:21 PM

When I saw the glowing neon floor of the set, the bathtub shaped glass prison walls around it, and the ascending and descending cage above it, I thought I was looking at the holodeck of the Starship Enterprise. This is like a futuristic shell, designed to hold the distilled essence of a human tragedy, as a lesson to Starfleet Officers, or anybody who cares to look and learn.

The production feels timeless, divorced from the Brooklyn brownstone that glowered over the Ken Stott revival, albeit still tinged with Sicilian values about honour and justice. And it feels religious, a place where even scheming lawyers remove their shoes before entering, because the drama is somehow holy. Like a parable, I suppose.

If Ivo Van Hove wanted to leave the actors to carry the full weight of the drama, he succeeds because of Mark Strong. That man scares me, I won't lie. When his Eddie Carbone made eye contact with me, I froze with fright. His physicality is primal, his eyes hawklike, always hunting.

And what he wants most, he can't have, which is his seventeen year old niece Catherine, played by Phoebe Fox, whose thighs he can't stop stroking, and who is so childlike that she leaps into his bearlike arms and straddles her legs round his waist like she is 5 years old.

I could barely recognise Fox as the same streetwise trendy young English girl she played in The Acid Test. Her Brooklyn accent is spot on, so too her girlish mannerisms, and when when she falls for Luke Norris' blond, singing, sewing, dancing Rodolpho, she unleashes some of the worst gaydar ever in Uncle Eddie, who wins the award as the least likely character ever to be in the front row of a performance of "La Cage aux Folles" singing along to "I am what I am." Eddie decides something "ain't right" about Rodolpho.

Nicola Walker is effective and moving, as a compassionate voice of reason, Eddie's wife, who can see conflict developing, but is powerless to stop it.

The drama that develops turns all "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly," when Van Hove stages the characters in a triangle, and has them using words and pauses like bullets. And make no mistake, Strong is the mirror image of Lee Van Cleef's villainous Angel Eyes in this scene, his eyes having been drawn to our attention by the play's Greek chorus, Michael Gould's forlorn Alfieri.

After this, there is a brief moment of longeurs, before the powerful resolution of one of the most starkly dramatic productions I've seen in a while. Grab the remaining tickets while they're there.

4 and a half stars. :)

#300777 The Pajama Game

Posted wickedgrin on 15 April 2014 - 01:11 PM

Just in Pajama bottoms too!

#300236 Carrie Underwood Sound Of Music, C5 Easter Sunday

Posted Titan on 12 April 2014 - 12:12 PM

Thats it really!

#300128 Andrew Lippa

Posted popcultureboy on 11 April 2014 - 02:23 PM

Start with "Maybe I Like It This Way" from The Wild Party. I absolutely love that song. Then try his Charlie Brown songs. I confess to finding Addams Family an absolute bore and haven't heard any of Big Fish.

#299797 Looking For Musical Fans

Posted Miranna on 08 April 2014 - 09:19 PM

Hi everyone, I'm new to this forum, nice to meet you

I'm a 25 french girl who just arrived in London and I would love to see a musical, however so far I don't know many people in London and I don't want to go to alone.

So if people are interested in going with me in the near future I would be delighted to meet musical fans and to discover good musicals and new people!

I apologize if this is off topic or if it's in the wrong board

Have a nice day

#298580 Stephen Ward - The Musical

Posted steveatplays on 29 March 2014 - 10:39 AM

The title was a disaster. It sounded so boring, like a newsnight documentary giving a balanced and dispassionate view of a historical figure. It doesn't help that "ward" rhymes with "bored."

And this title triggered the worst sort of coverage in the papers, namely serious news coverage about clearing the name of somebody nobody cares about.

For example, if this musical were called "Orgy," and the makers said they were referring to "a political orgy of corruption," as well as the literal orgy you see in the musical, coverage would have been more salacious and critical, and might have generated "outrage" and interest, with the consequence audiences might have felt they were seeing something naughty and exciting.

But that would have been a lie, because the main problem of the production is that it comes from a newsnight mind, the mind of someone making a defensive argument about political history in a biased but reasonable manner.

This musical presented a man, who recruited teenage girls from their mums and moved them into his flat in that London with the purpose of presenting them to rich and powerful men, as an awfully nice fellow. It tries to paper over the obvious fact that Ward was a seedy creep.

Imagine if Sondheim hadn't made Sweeney Todd and Mrs Lovett quite so wicked, if he had omitted the word "demon" from the title, if he had tried to suggest that Sweeney and Lovett were merely the victims of society rather than their own vicious inner demons, how boring would that take have been? And isn't Ward a chamber of horrors character like Sweeney Todd after all, albeit relegated to Blackpool?

Where Lloyd Webber was completely right is that this seedy creep was no worse, and probably more intrinsically likeable and decent, than many of the society figures who welcomed him into their sphere to get at his sexy young offerings. And this is another problem: society is not demonised enough in this musical. Valjean needs his Javert, but we just don't get one in Stephen Ward: we don't get an embodiment of societal evil who we can hate and fear, who would drive the story and make us root for Ward. All we get is two silly policemen tacked on in an almost spurious scene in the second half. How uninvolving!

If only this musical had not had it's po-faced crusading agenda and it's dull title, I believe this could have been a hit. I recall with fondness the passion that Lloyd Webber brought to powerful numbers like "Human Sacrifice" and "Manipulation," the touching emptiness and neediness of Charlottle Spencer singing "He sees something in me," the lonely romantic delivery of Alexander Hanson singing "Too close to the Flame," and the number the wickedness of which I wish had more embodied the whole musical, "You've Never Had It So Good."

Stephen Ward, I mourn what you could have been. :(

#299315 Dream Casts

Posted Mrs Lovett's Meat Pie on 04 April 2014 - 01:00 PM

Julia McKenzie - Kim - Miss Saigon

#298972 #wos100 What Is Your Favourite Show Of All Time?

Posted theatreliker on 01 April 2014 - 04:33 PM

It would be better if you could list your favourite productions. The poll doesn't allow you to be very specific.

#298550 Stephen Ward - The Musical

Posted mallardo on 29 March 2014 - 07:54 AM

I don't believe it was a bad title or the story's relative obscurity that mattered.  It was the fact that the story was so structurally flawed - Act One and Act Two were two different shows - and that the leading characters were so completely uncompelling - despite fine performances from the actors.  There was no "there" there.  It was one of the most unsatisfying musicals I have ever seen.

#298724 London Live To Screen Plays

Posted steveatplays on 30 March 2014 - 08:48 AM

Evgeny Lebedev, the owner of the new London TV Channel, London Live, just said to the BBC that the Channel will be broadcasting archived plays.

He said they will start by broadcasting Lyric Hammersmith's 2012 production of "Lovesong" some time next week.

#298560 City Of Angels Revival On The Way..

Posted Mrs Lovett's Meat Pie on 29 March 2014 - 08:29 AM

I heard Michael Ball may be doing the Scotchegg Boys.......

#297961 Blockbuster The Musical

Posted Ryan on 25 March 2014 - 02:00 PM

View Postpopcultureboy, on 25 March 2014 - 01:56 PM, said:

Equally I'm saddened it's not about the game show, with the 11 o'clock number, "I'll Have a P Please, Bob".
Isn't that one of the 'Urinetown' numbers?

#297960 Blockbuster The Musical

Posted popcultureboy on 25 March 2014 - 01:56 PM

Equally I'm saddened it's not about the game show, with the 11 o'clock number, "I'll Have a P Please, Bob".

#297302 Nt 2014/15 - The Final Year

Posted Mrs Lovett's Meat Pie on 19 March 2014 - 07:43 PM

Is it closing?

SRB in a modern dress Shakespere
A white dude in a a revival of a play about a Victorian white dude suppressing stuff
The Wiz with an all white cast
The bird who plays deirdre in Corrie in Electra/Medea/Cherry Orchard
Some play about black London gang culture

#297216 Betty Blue Eyes 2014

Posted Polly1 on 18 March 2014 - 11:00 PM

Saw this tonight, final preview and it's in excellent shape. Betty is wonderful :) Clever set, excellent use of lighting, great choreography, cast work very hard. There is a 4-piece off stage band although a few of the cast play in the Primrose ballroom section.

Painting by Heart has been cut, or rather replaced with a shorter song  for Wormold, Upholding the Law.

There are some great songs in this show and it has such humour and heart, I really hope it's a success this time round.