Mr Barnaby I was the critic from WOS, I assure you I'm not 'village Hall' I am somebody who works in the industry as a director, writer and producer and have won awards and nominations for my work, and i also write for a few theatre sites.
I will ALWAYS give my 100 percent honest opinion on all aspects of a show and thought DRS was outstanding, I was lucky enough to see the Broadway Production as well and thought this matched it all the way (in fact I think set and costumes were far better).
I really hope this finds an audience in London as it really deserves it. I hope all of you that get to see the show have as much fun as I did.
I love Urinetown but I found this production problematical. I thought Jamie Lloyd over-directed and over-produced it. Too much set - it's better when it's played simpler - and way too much business. The material is smart and funny in its own right. It doesn't need a rim shot after every punch line. Yet, especially in the first act, that's what it gets here.
Lloyd is constantly underlining - the actors in rabbit heads illustrating just what Don't Be The Bunny is really saying. We don't need it. It's too heavy. It's a distraction. Or Lockstock and Little Sally tagging Bobby and Hope's sweet and funny Follow Your Heart duet, Lockstock with a smoke machine. It ruined the moment. Leave well enough alone.
Lockstock himself, as played by Jonathan Slinger, seems misconceived. Too smarmy and sleazy and overtly sadistic. Lockstock has to be a charmer. All the bad things he does are done with a fresh gleaming smile, not a leer. And what's with the bad New Yawk accent? The show is not set in New York so why do it?
And what's with the buckets of blood? Way too literal. Not only unnecessary but wrong.
All of that said, act two is miles better than act one - as if Lloyd finally figured out how it goes. And most of the cast are terrific. I liked Richard Fleeshman's Bobby - he got it just right - although, as others here have noted, he was surprisingly underpowered vocally. Rosanna Hyland's Hope was a good match for him. She avoided the mugging others fell prey to. I also liked Karis Jack's nuanced and well sung Little Sally and Corey English's fervent Hot Blades Harry.
The Cladwell scenes did not work as well as they should but it wasn't the fault of a plausible and entertaining Simon Paisley Day.
I wish Lloyd had trusted his material more and not felt the need to add his own unhelpful flourishes. But the show is strong enough to survive them. And, despite my carping, I had a good time. Don't think I'd see it again though.
I'm here, interval had a 'surprise' announcement that it will be long so free ice cream. I'm actually enjoying it, much to my shock, it's madcap fun and I think it's a great crowd pleaser, obviously there are things need cutting but sean foley introduced it as a very different production to last night so they're obviously reworking it a lot. They have totally ripped off the kinky boots conveyor belt thing for a pretty ineffective number about fat women having fun which is the most cynically engineered hen party number in it. Not sure how I feel about hunchback, I guess second half will tell. Set is pretty amazing though. Will post more later, louis Walsh is in the audience and chuckling a lot
off to watch this tonight, as discussed earlier in this thread, its best to gather ones own opinion of a show rather than the general consensis on this board. also its ALW so i need to see it before its whisked away forever!
review coming tomorrow!
Hysterical overheard conversations between two elderly women at yesterdays Tuesday matinee.
Woman 1 "do you think the ceiling is going to fall in"
Women 2 " it would be more exciting than the show wouldn't it"
Woman 1 "I'm glad Gladys didn't come she would not have liked the swearing"
Woman 1 "There's nothing scandalous about it now is there...."
Woman 2 "Ooooh no, I bet it's all going on today, it's just that we don't know about it, and wont do for another 30 years or whatever, the establishment - they're all still at it"!
Woman 1 "Yes look at that Patrick Rock"
Woman 2 "Who dear?"
Woman 1" Do you think that they (the cast) give their all when they know it's closing in a few weeks?
Woman 2 "Well that Christine Keeler gave it her all (cackles) but I suppose they hope to be picked up for something else - they never know who's watching"
Woman 1 "There are some nice songs aren't there... it's a pity he did not write them for a different show"
Woman 2 " But then it would have been a different show wouldn't it"
Its a bit hard to take Tim Rice seriously when his 'original' idea is a book and movie adaptation with a fairly standard type of score. There really wasnt much originality on show.
There is room for original new work, but when the work is good enough and 'work' as a piece. Its also about producers carefully handling their show and not rushing it through (e.g. Spring Awakening transfer)
FHTE and Stephen Ward both needed more work and the general public opinion was neither were good enough.
Well, the interval alone was running at 1 hour 40 minutes the other day, they've now got it down to 1 hour 10, and hoping to make it 40 minutes by opening night. Frankly Act 1 better be damn good if they want their audience to stick around that long whilst they set up Act 2!
A 40 minute interval? Blimey! Marti Webb has pretty much zipped through 'Tell Me On A Sunday' by then!!