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
How many times do we need to have this argument? I'm a little bit sick of having to stand up for Sondheim in the face of ALW lovers calling me a snob for doing so. Lloyd Webber composed some decent, very memorable and succesful scores that have made way more money than Sondheim FACT. Sondheim composes music AND lyrics that are very intelligent and fit an overall feeling/idea that operates on less of a superficial level. That is why his backers say he is more intelligent because frankly he is, it's the difference between a Beckett play and an episode of Modern Family, both are difficult to write but only one taps into the soul in a visceral and powerful way. These guys are cheese and chalk, I love a lot of ALW shows and I love most of Sondheims work, let's just accept they're different beasts and get along.
Maybe it was from shock when Scarlett Strallen beat Rosalie Craig or outrage when Daniel Radcliffe beat ben whishaw. Good to see he's alright and Rosalie Craig + Hadley Fraser accompanied him to A and E, hope they had a sing a long while they waited! The results overall were predictable, they should rename it the 'Who's better known awards'
I know it's not technically a musical but it's from the same choreographer as Chicago in Leicester McOnie? and has a lot of West End fav's in in it like Simon Hardwick, anyone been? I normally hate pure dance shows but I love musicals so wondering if it's worth a shot
Better than Once? Book of Mormon? Drowning in a swimming pool?
I think not!
Lol sorry, I meant best new british musical, or best musical that hasn't already won loads of awards on Broadway and isn't really new. Once and Book of Mormon are really great, drowning in a swimming pool is the reason we couldn't invite you to a forum meetup pool party
Just saw this tonight, I'd been avoiding it because of the bad reviews and what a lot of posters had said about it. I wish I hadn't waited so long, I think it's a really good show, the best new musical of the last year easily! Maybe the story wasn't totally well structured but overall way better than Charlie, Stephen Ward and Light Princess. I hope it stands the test of time like Chess did in peoples memories
There should totally be a forum social night in a pub! The WOS outings are all over day seat price so I never go plus I reckon it would just be better to meet in a pub. Although as an aspiring playwright I'd totally blow my cover and thus lose my daydream of one of my plays being the subject of a thread on this board as I shill the hell out of it
danieldabell, on 07 December 2013 - 04:07 PM, said:
So this depends on what you mean by flop doesn't it?
Some of my favourite musicals have never been long runners and some haven't made any money. That doesn't mean it's not a great musical. Stephen Ward may be a great or poor show in someone's opinion, and at the end of the day personal taste is what'll make you enjoy or dislike a show.
To be fair I think everyone who uses this board accepts that opinion is unique to each person. By flop I meant critical flop, the kind that sting.
I agree with Maxim about the structural problems and lack of human hook. I did enjoy it and think it'll run for over 6 months but I doubt it'll be a hit that'll last over 18 months.
I'm going to start nit picking and going in to detail and I'm not very good with html so this won't be in hidden spoiler form just stop reading now if you don't want to know more.
Firstly the set, very minimalistic but effective, I said cheap, my mate said classy. It's two hanging dark velvety circles of material within each other that open and close to reveal things behind it, I guess modeled on burlesque kind of strip clubs but also maybe representing the layers of society or even circles of hell if you want to get artsy fartsy about it.
Act 1 is the better of the two halves as it contains the most character development for Ward and the other characters, Hanson is just brilliant throughout and deserves to win a best actor in a musical for his performance. The convention is that he is in the chamber of horrors and comes to life to explain the miscarriage of justice that led him to be in the chamber of horrors. We move to a gentlemens club for the rich and famous via a 'bathing beauties on the beach' style hula hoooping song which is to set the mood of the club and is one of 2 songs that don't drive the story forward, just set the scene. From here his journey with Keeler is charming and has potential as they two grow to like each other and has the not really love duet but closest thing to it - 'This side of the sky'. Some of the lyrics are a bit clunky and some song through dialogue feels a bit tuneless and slow. Mid act 1 we have the highlight of the show, the 'Never had it so good' set piece which is a brilliantly staged orgy scene. Fantastic choreography in this scene reminds you again of classical paintings of debauchery and dantes inferno.
Also we have a scene in which Christine and Mandy chat and Christine confides that she may be in love with Ward and also a really weird Russian song which needs some cutting and ends up with Christine stripping naked and showing everyone her perfect rear end.
Then Keeler gets mixed up with a couple of black guys, we are brought into the club by way of another superfluous song sung by Lucky 'black hearted woman', It's a reggae song that comes across as not very authentic. The rasta base and heavy synth flares becomes a signature every time anyone sings about or interacts with the black characters which I mentioned earlier could be a bit heavy handed.
Act 1 ends with an optimistic song about next year which to me sounded a little like the title song from 'merrily we roll along' but maybe I'm imagining that.
Act 2 is like they dropped the emotional hooks of Ward and Keeler and became worried they wouldn't have enough time to fit the whole story in as we see the minor characters develop the plot. The panto villainesque police inspectors and lawyers clearly construct an evil case against Ward by manipulating the witnesses etc. Be in no doubt that the writers are very sure that Ward was totally a victim here. The one song that should have been an emotional high was given to Profumo's wife after she learns of his affair and it's a kind of 'as long as he needs me', wronged woman forgiving idiotic bloke song. It's a nice song but it would have been more effective coming from a character who we cared about, as it is, this is the first time you meet her so it's like she comes in just for this big number and you don't have enough invested in her to actually care.
There is a court case battle that looks optimistic then goes down hill as the villainous lawyer and judge seem intent on putting him away. Things get bad for Ward and we see him taking the overdose on stage, sings a little reprise of 'This side of the sky' and 'too close to the flame' then dies. I thought this felt very rushed, I expected as Christine comes on stage at this point but doesn't actually see Ward that we would have a powerful duet with Christine where she almost goes in in time to stop or something and then a longer, more rousing 'too close to the flame' underscored by a swelling boom of tunes at the end. What it is currently is a bit of a fizzle out and consequently Hanson's amazing performance isn't allowed to soar quite so high.
Obviously that's not quite the end as he comes back to life, or death as it may be to narrate some more and return to the chamber of horrors.
So there we have it, good shape and not exactly Stephen Bored, but maybe not the next big hit for Mr Webber!
Starring Natalie Casey. Is it just me or is Casey struggling to get out of Sheridan Smith's shadow? I wonder wether it's her choices or casting directors but I find it funny how similar her career choices are to Sheridan's. Obviously both were in 2 pints of lager then she went into Legally Blonde and now a historical play about the vibrator like the movie Hysteria with Sheridan in it.