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Member Since 19 Jun 2011
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#297578 The A-Z Of Mrs P

Posted djp on 21 March 2014 - 06:10 PM

View Posttheatreian, on 25 February 2014 - 03:24 PM, said:

I saw this on its opening night, the secons show of 3 on a theatre trip to London, the others being Stephen Ward and Urinetown.
A very different trio of shows , but I have to say I really enjoyed A to Z and some of the negative reviews do not really give it a chance.
The cast gave great performances and the way in which the show was put together was really original.
To read some reviews you would think the world werew about to end. This is entertainment , not a world war .

Indeed, its seems to be a classic case of some reviewers expecting something else simpler,  and missing the point. The book is as it is because its portraying events. Its not going to be as neat as most musicals will be. There's a lot in the lyrics, and multiple stories going on at once.  Its also not about the A to Z. Its about a family surviving, or not,  a dominering, father and some achieving something. The domineering father dominates - because thats  what the word entails - and because he's a good case study from the deviant psychology manuals. The mother is a, brilliantly played,  mess, - because she married him and found no escape. Mrs P is stoic and strong willed -  in the face of adversity, the role of women at the time,  and a monstrous parent. Michael Matus as father is worryingly convincing - he looked so red and sweating when angry,  that  you jhope his blood pressure is OK too.  Its also got some very strong turns from the supporting cast, and some of the songs are pretty good.

I can't see much wrong with the set. The doors are a neat way of doing lots of  comings and goings. A sparse set fits a family with no money, and running a business, in shoe boxes, and  on a shoe string, and one light bulb.  If people want expensive  sets with less story,   theres always Charlie or I Can't Sing - when the set works. Isy P's mike failed her  a bit in some positions, but otherwise she was fine and convincing.  The supporting noises on stage were unusual - but when I went,  the audience  seemed to have a sense of humour, and they attracted a lot of laughter - which was presumably the aim. There was loud applause at the interval,  and at the end .  It seems to avoid applause gaps  after the songs which may leave the audience waiting too long to get involved, but,  when they did  get a chance, the reaction seemed   strongly positive  to me. Perhaps some people did go looking forward to  a history of the  A to Z, and just never recovered?

Well worth a look. The leads are top class. The story isn't massive but few musical  books  are even this complex. Its got some good songs -  if nothing earth shattering - but there's not many of those  anywhere else at the moment either.  Avoid if you like big sets, have no sense of humour,  or really want to learn the knowledge.