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Member Since 13 Jun 2011
Offline Last Active Dec 27 2013 03:07 PM

#284408 'The Musicals' - New Channel 4 Documentary

Posted DeNada on 20 November 2013 - 03:28 PM

View PostBurlyBeaR, on 20 November 2013 - 08:08 AM, said:

The whole thing about Craig Revel Horwood signing up to direct, negotiating his name to be above the title then dropping the idea via a "sorry daaaaaahling" e-mail days later seemed highly unlikely. Does no-one sign a contract in Showbiz?

Maybe in TV/film, but in theatre often the contract either comes while the show's running or never at all.  You work on good faith from both parties, particularly if you're powerful, until someone gets around to finally drafting the contract.

View Postfreckles, on 20 November 2013 - 09:59 AM, said:

As for Cameron, I actually found his involvement fascinating. It showed a great sense of pride & attention to detail in the production, which I think is a good thing. However, sweeping in at the last minute (having graciously "cleared his diary") and making such dramatic changes seemed rude and disrespectful to the director, I'm all for Cameron's involvement & I think he knows what he's talking about but he could have handled that better. Lucky to have a patient director.

As if Cameron hadn't had his diary cleared for months to be around during the cast on stage/previews period!  He's the producer, after all - he (and his office) are the ones that plan the schedule.  He really needs to go "the whole Hal Prince" - be producer and director.  He'd get what he wants then.

As for Tim Sheader, even if he didn't do the greatest job in the world, what can you do in the face of a multimillionaire toddler who can fire you any time he likes if you don't say yes, who has you directing a show that is by all accounts pretty poor on the page, let alone on the stage?

#282270 Porgy And Bess At Open Air Theatre

Posted DeNada on 29 October 2013 - 05:02 PM

View PostBoob, on 29 October 2013 - 04:23 PM, said:

What are the bets he'll relocate it from 20th Century South Carolina to Outer Space 2150 AD?

The goat cart is actually the GOATCART, a futuristic artifical intelligence powering a spaceship.  The story is all in its head to pass the time while its crew are in cryogenic storage.

All the characters will be played by the aliens on board the ship, and therefore we will be unable to tell if the actors are black or white due to the costuming.  Except for Mr Archdale, who will be played by a black actor because TIM SHEADER IS EDGY!!!!!

His production of All My Sons in the same season will use the same physical production but otherwise be played inexplicably straight.

#280127 The Light Princess

Posted DeNada on 08 October 2013 - 06:11 PM

View Postpopcultureboy, on 08 October 2013 - 12:35 PM, said:

But, MrBarnaby, you don't like anything...........

Except Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!

#279659 From Here To Eternity, Shaftesbury Theatre

Posted DeNada on 03 October 2013 - 01:46 PM

View PostMrCompanyManager, on 03 October 2013 - 12:58 PM, said:

I have nothing to do with this production but please give these shows a chance during previews Guy's. Press Nights are there for a reason. Let them work on things during previews, your critiques can wait.

If everyone thought the show was great, would you tell people to save their opinions for later?

We go through this in every thread about shows in previews (although, curiously, not so often when talking about plays).  Someone thinks there should be no critiques until the show is open.  Someone always says that we're paying full price so why not.  Someone else chimes in about honouring the artistic process etc. etc.

Previews are really only meaningful to the artistic team.  They are meaningless to the audience who is watching the show; your average theatre patron is not going to cut them some slack because the show's being tweaked, they will think it sucked or was great and that will be that.  This has always been the case - it's just that now, in an era when you can share your opinions with people on a different continent, not just next to you in the pub, buzz spreads much more quickly.

It's funny - the film industry often runs preview screenings from which positive/negative feedback emerges, and make changes to editing, music etc. based on that feedback.  But no-one says "give them a chance, guys!  Gala screening nights are there for a reason!".  If you are putting your work out there then criticism is to be expected.

No-one is excoriating this show, or Light Princess, or The Commitments.  But just because it's not all euphoric praise doesn't mean it's invalid to state your opinion.  As the importance of the professional critic diminishes, so does the importance of rules designed around that system.

#279253 The Light Princess

Posted DeNada on 28 September 2013 - 05:08 PM

View Postyallerybrown, on 28 September 2013 - 01:28 PM, said:

I think the music needs more balls. The orchestrations are plain and, yes, the strings and wind are nice but where was the fire??  A drum would have been a nice change to airy-fairy tunes which we tired of quickly.

Tori Amos, ladies and gentleman!  It seems the score is going to be the biggest problem with the show - I've never thought of her music as really having any kind of structure, it justs loops and wheels (occasionally) beguilingly around.  Intriguing to see that they've completely rewritten the opening scene today, though - maybe they can inject some more variety into the score as well?

I suspect the wind/strings is to symbolise the lack of gravity.  But then surely Prince Digby's orchestrations should be the opposite?

Still, I'm ridiculously jealous of you all getting to see this!

#278223 West Side Story Uk Tour Cast Announced

Posted DeNada on 15 September 2013 - 12:01 PM

All people of all races should be able to play any role regardless of ethnicity as long as there is a strong justification for it and the rest of the production supports it - particularly when ethnicity is an important component.

A black actor playing Grandfather in Ragtime in an otherwise traditionally cast production = an idea that didn't really work (sorry, Tim Sheader).  A white Othello should, in my opinion, be contrasted in some way with the other characters - not necessarily with a black Desdemona/Iago/whatever, but there has to be something that sets him aside IMO. If you're dead set on having an actor of an ethnicity that doesn't match that of the text, the director needs a damn good justification for it.

A black Eponine matters in absolutely no way to the rest of Les Mis.  But a white Nabalungi would to Book of Mormon.

West Side Story is a tricky one, though.  Puerto Ricans are generally Caucasian and from a theatrical point of view it's almost impossible to distinguish between them and the Jets save through a hammy cod-Hispanic accent in many productions.

Katie Hall will probably wear a wig/dye her hair, and her beautiful soprano will undoubtedly do the score justice.  I don't know the young soprano "market" very well - who else would you guys suggest for the role that looks more Puerto Rican?

#276227 Stephen Ward - The Musical

Posted DeNada on 26 August 2013 - 04:08 PM

View Postdanieldabell, on 25 August 2013 - 11:21 PM, said:

I wonder if Lord Webber had written this under a pseudonym that expectations would have been more realistic & the piece appreciated for what it will be rather than a relative piece of theatre to other Webber musicals. It's odd to hear/read so much opining on the actual show when we know so little yet.

If anyone other than ALW had written this, it would be playing four weeks at the Union with a single keyboard - much like A Model Girl did about six years ago (that was at Greenwich, though, I think) when it told the Profumo story from Christine Keeler's POV.

The only reason to have expectations of the show is because of him.  Otherwise there would be absolutely nothing to talk about!

#276192 Stephen Ward - The Musical

Posted DeNada on 25 August 2013 - 09:10 PM

View PostTitan, on 25 August 2013 - 03:56 PM, said:

This is being treated more like a play in terms of a lower key approach to marketing which I think for now is the right thing to do. They dont have an angle, theres no star, no well known songs, no brand recognition.  I suspect they are hoping for a strong opening and word of mouth and kick it into gear then.

While this can work for a play - and would probably work better here if ALW were better respected these days - the only cold openings of plays we get in the West End these days do have angles and stars - think Peter and Alice, or The Audience.  The big West End plays of the past few years - your Jerusalems, your Enrons, your Chimericas - have all had hugely successful subsidised runs to build up that word of mouth before hitting the West End (and I guess Jerusalem had Mark Rylance and Mackenzie Crook but arguably no-one knows who Mark Rylance is outside of postcodes beginning WC).

Stephen Ward is and was always going to be a very hard sell.  I guess at least the marketing is mildly interesting, unlike, say, From Here To Eternity.

#274350 Go Whistle!

Posted DeNada on 05 August 2013 - 08:09 AM

Yeah, Swallow's definitely not pre-adolescent in ALW's musical (apparently a faithful adaptation of the novel exists as well?).  The love triangle with Amos and The Man would be completely messed up if she were.

It did okay, I think.  The original production ran for 2 1/2 years, but given that it was a Really Useful Group show it's impossible to tell whether it made any money over that period.  I guess the Kenwright productions have done okay on their visits to the West End as well.

#273809 Barnum?

Posted DeNada on 30 July 2013 - 07:18 PM

View PostJamiem, on 30 July 2013 - 06:51 PM, said:

Has Tim sheader now finally been found out?

Nah, don't think so.  The material here is so weak that he's mostly gotten away unscathed - he's barely even mentioned in most of the reviews, so many of them focus on Liam Steel and Andrew Wright's work rather than his.  And To Kill A Mockingbird had pretty good notices for its slightly out-there concept.

We must keep waiting...

#269641 Ghost On Tour 2013 Thread

Posted DeNada on 20 June 2013 - 09:25 PM

If the Ghost tour HAS been cut short enough, wouldn't Stewart Clarke be a brilliant Chris in Miss Saigon in London?

#269265 Charlie And The Chocolate Factory - The Spoiler Thread

Posted DeNada on 18 June 2013 - 02:19 PM

View PostHalpster, on 18 June 2013 - 08:12 AM, said:

really makes me chuckle to read back on some of the posts here and how the show is dissected and ripped apart....its a MUSICAL.....! try not to forget that....

Should we forgive a show its flaws because it's a musical?  If it had no songs, would it deserve harsher consideration?  The reason people dissect shows like Charlie to pieces is because we love musical theatre and want to see it done well.

It's nothing to do with wanting "soaring melodies".   Besides, we get one - Pure Imagination.  Nor would I want More Of Him To Love in a Lloyd Webber show (you'd never get it, unless it was By Jeeves or similar...).  Lots of shows don't have big lush ballads in, but they have strong, memorable scores - and Charlie just doesn't, IMO.

#255651 Lift: The Musical

Posted DeNada on 21 February 2013 - 11:48 PM



As usual I worry about being mean about new British musical theatre because people will then accuse me of not supporting the industry etc. but I thought it was a bit pants, really.  Songs going nowhere melodically or lyrically, lots of LOUD BELTING AT THE TOP OF YOUR VOCAL RANGE deafening the audience, and a very, very odd plot - it's still not much clearer even locating the letter to the top of the show, and basically nothing gets resolved.  I understand that in a 54 second moment perhaps you only get a snapshot - but I don't think a single plotline reached a conclusion.

My personal interpretation is that the Busker has never had a relationship with anyone and that the letter isn't his either.  He fancies Secretary!Kate and imagines what he would do if he asks her out on a date - but he mostly is just making up stories about the lives of everyone in the lift with him and from the letter.  That's why everyone's called Gabriel, Sarah or Kate - because those are the names from the letter or that he overhears in the lift.  There's nothing to say that the nameless teacher is a lesbian, or that Secretary!Kate loves her boss... it's all just made up.

The show isn't thought-provoking in the right way - it's just baffling.  The teacher's song is just an endless list of places/things she's "lost in" - so what?  What does that tell us?  What does Stripperina!Kate's song say that the book scenes didn't already (although honestly that applies to all the songs)?  Why is there no consistency to when the "avatars" in the chatroom speak and when the real people do? etc. etc.

#246451 A Chorus Line

Posted DeNada on 23 November 2012 - 05:09 PM

Where are the cheap shows using kids?  ANYTHING using kids is horrifically expensive to run.  Charlie is going to be hugely costly - not to mention Matilda and Billy Elliot's continued runs.

As for the shows you have closing next year, let's think about what's replacing them:

Cabaret - no idea what's opening at the Savoy when that closes, could be anything really
Shrek - replaced by Charlie, starring Douglas Hodge and who knows who else, likely to be a huge spectacular show
Dreamboats - isn't even in a musical house, no wonder a play's taking over again
Taboo - not playing a traditional theatre venue
Chicago tour - there will be other tours to employ all those actors next year

Once has a larger cast than Blood Brothers (and one that requires quadruple threats as it's an actor muso show).  Ghost is being replaced by Viva Forever, starring the great Sally Ann Triplett and a hugely talented young cast.  Grease went years ago.  Legally was replaced by Cabaret, and WOZ is of course being replaced by Chorus Line.

Of course all these things are down to personal taste, but I'm not sure what you want to see that means the new shows we're getting aren't exciting.

#244710 Loserville (West End Run)

Posted DeNada on 10 November 2012 - 10:27 AM

View Postlesterf, on 10 November 2012 - 08:21 AM, said:

So what musicals are opening ?  The Bodyguard and Viva Forever ... jukebox musicals.
Thank goodness for The Book of Mormon transferring.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory too (although I guess that's a way away).  And the Chorus Line/Kiss Me Kate revivals.

At least Viva Forever has an original storyline - and let's not forget that Loserville isn't entirely original anyway, with four or five songs coming off a pre-existing album.

For people who say that Loserville hasn't "found its audience" - who do you think that audience was?  Who do you think didn't come to see the show?  No matter how good the reviews had been (and it didn't deserve rave reviews anyway), it's not a family show (you wouldn't take little kids to see it and their parents would be bored), it's not a date show, it's not massively funny nor particularly dramatic... it's a show about teenagers that appeals to young adults who aren't going to spend full price on a stalls ticket.  From a commercial point of view it just wasn't a goer.

I'm sure the show will make back some of its losses through licensing on the amateur circuit; it's the kind of thing that youth groups, NYMT etc. will lap up, far more so than other flops like Lend Me A Tenor.