Oh I fully agree, I've been a "tourist" in London for 20 years now and I've seen things go from bad to worse. Though unfortunately, judging by all the people carrying bags from M&M World around the West End, tourist do often equal "tasteless idiots". Not that I mind M&Ms as such - just the naff tacky shop. And apparently the souvenir rubbish is making people tons of money, since they keep expanding.
The Trocadero has been sad for so many years, I just don't get why this building was never transformed into a nice shopping mall of sorts with some cafes, restaurants, etc. on the ground floor and some shops on the upper floors.
Unless I'm in a theatre directly around Leicester Square, I tend to avoid the whole area these days - I much prefer Covent Garden. It's touristy too, yea, but the old market is still lovely with its tiny shops to browse in and its nice cafes.
Well, I'm a single female who would love to find a bloke that's keen on theatre. Took a guy to Coriolanus yesterday and while I was super excited of having bagged tickets for this and to see the starry cast, he was all "meh" and lukewarm about it and couldn't help wishing that I had given my spare ticket to someone more... well, deserving, who'd share my excitement about the evening.
And as a matter of fact I'll be going to see Urinetown... alone
Thirdly, the profumo affair as others have pointed out is little known by those under 50, and certainly is of no interest (or much relevance) to overseas tourists. And tourists certainly were not there on tuesday night- just white, middle class couples generally over 50.
Well, I'm an overseas tourist, who finally got to see the show yesterday (and below 50, too!). I honestly don't think it doesn't matter that the Profumo affair is not well-known among the young and foreign. With this reasoning, Evita should only appeal to Argentinian people of a certain age and look how that show did.
The drab title is certainly a problem - when the name doesn't ring a bell, why would you care for the show at all?
But I wasn't too impressed with the show itself either. Way too many "dialogue songs" and too little insights into the leads. I would have liked to hear much more about the two girls, who they were, where they came from, what made them dive into this world of "old rich men"? Clever lyrics could have drawn a comparison to today's vapid IT-girls. The second act was even worse as the trial dragged on - come on, we knew how it ended. Ward/Hanson was just sitting there, staring. Would have loved to have a song from him there how he felt about it all. And why no song from Mandy and/or Charlotte how THEY felt about it all? Did the writers not dare to go there because the two women are still alive? Instead we get the big 11 o'clock ballad from someone we don't know and don't give a damn about (Profumo's wife), not to mention that these godawful "Ooooh, I know my man sucks but I'm a woman, so I'm gonna stick by him because I luuurve him so and can't be alone" songs should have died out 20 years ago. Lovely tune should have been used for something for the girls.
There's a good show in there, but not the way it's done now.
Since people are obviously willing to shell out for the show as such, Mackintosh won't need to spend a lot of money on "star names" - makes a lot of business sense to me. When the show first opened, most people are unknowns too, by the way.
I wonder if some of the vitriol here stems from the fact that this show is perhaps the biggest disappointment of the new batch? With "The Commitments" you knew pretty much exactly what you'd get, and "Light Princess" was also not that much of a surprise if you knew Tori Amos' music (and who doesn't). "Stephen Ward", while coming from ALW as always seemed to be on the small and "indie" side with its unusual topic and let's not start on X-Factor.
But "From Here to Eternity" with its pedigree - a classic movie, a lush Hawaiian setting, big emotions and Tim Rice behind it had all the potential to become one of those few big epics that carry you away - much like "South Pacific" or later on "Miss Saigon" to name two others with the "exotic location / war" premise. And there IS a lot of potential in From Here to Eternity too, in my opinion - if only there had been a couple more really good songs (especially in Act One) and if they had a better male lead than the bland guy who played Prewitt. And these are things that COULD (should) have been realized by the creative team surely, especially someone like Rice who worked on shows that were stuffed with great tunes (JCS, Evita, Chess...).
I don't have it in me to spout vitriol at this show or wish for it to close, but for me it was certainly the biggest disappointment after holding the highest hopes for it.
Having seen it this weekend, my two cents: The first act is pretty dreadful with not a single tune standing out (to me). The second act improves quite A LOT, but by then it's simply too late to really care. And the show just doesn't have a "wow" moment that explains why this story needs to be on stage. I'd say it's "okay" but you won't shift a great many expensive tickets on "okay". I don't regret seeing it... I regret the wasted opportunity here to create a beautiful great epic musical with gorgeous sets (Hawaii!) and lush melodies somewhere between South Pacific and Miss Saigon.
It wasn't sold out and it was on TKTS both shows on Saturday. In my experience shows don't really recover from that to a point of selling really well (and pulling the discounts). On the other hand, "Once" is also still around, so what do I know?
You do raise quite a good point, actually. People will moan and cry that the actor is too old, but won't batter an eye lid that the actor is the complete wrong nationality. (although, the equality act doesn't extend to theatre anyway - they could purposefully seek out an actor of the correct nationality).
I wonder if Vietnamese performers would want to be associated with this show anyway, considering how blatantly it kicks many aspects of their culture in the face. It's definitely silly to keep focusing on Filipino performers as if they were the only ones who could do western pop music, especially considering how many South East Asians have been living in the West for generations now. Ah well, I've sworn to not get annoyed by this show again.
I saw 9 to 5 when it first opened in Los Angeles - I may have a soft spot for it because it just happened to be the musical I was able to catch while on holiday in California, but I enjoyed it alot and would like to see it again in the West End. I don't know the (low?) values of the current touring production but the musical itself is at least alot fresher with new songs than many other shows clogging up the West End. So why not?
I don't get the hate for Spamalot either - I think it's a very funny clever little show, again with mostly new fresh songs. Aren't these vastly preferrable to lame concoctions like Bodyguard that just slap a movie 1:1 on stage and add pre-existing songs or shows that were conceived with dollar (or pound) signs in producers' eyes like Viva Forever? The latter proving that the public doesn't swallow every kind of crap set before them.
I'm not happy about Thriller clogging up the Lyric either (probably because it's such a "prominent" theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue which deserves the same kind of high quality plays as the Apollo and the Gielgud next door), but I can see the attraction of such a dance show for tourists who want to spend an evening at the theatre and are worried about not being able to follow a musical (let alone a play). And let's face it, the West End is as much a tourist attraction and "seeing a West End show" on tourists' bucket lists as visiting the Tower or do a ride on the London Eye.
I think right now there's plenty of interesting stuff on and so much more to come in the next months. Let's also not forget that 2012 was a bad year for new shows because all the producers were worried about the Olympics. Hence the deluge of new shows now.
PS: Everyone bashes cheap touring productions, but at the same time love the equally cheap-looking overpriced "Once" - sorry, don't get it.