I know what I don't like. I don't like musicals set in a theatrical impresario's waiting-room to enable an array of useful types to pass conveniently through, and which hinge around the production of a major musical (pace Bob Fosse) so that gee-I'm-gonna-make-it numbers and the notional show-within-a-show-stopper can be hauled out without regard to integrating them. I suspect (it's not dogmatic dislike) shows assembled from numbers penned over several years, and which therefore look like receptacles for outtakes; on top of a tissue-thin plot, this is pushing it, and Henry Lewis could at least have revised his lyrics to get rid of anachronisms (Channel 4 in 1959?).
I heartily dislike singing which is (only at moments – let's be fair) off-key and off-time, and accompanied by dancing that's out of sync, and I don't like to hear it defended by specious claims of coy self-parody. (Honourable exception: cuddly old bear David Kincaid in the lead.) I don't like rhymes which are more tenuous than Bernie Taupin's, but I know that's a lost cause. I found this show thoroughly purgatorial. I was the sole grouch in a rapturuous sell-out audience. This doesn't mean I'm right and the rest of the world is wrong – probably the opposite – but I'm the one being paid to be opinionated, so: I say it's spinach and I say the hell with it.
Written for City Limits magazine.
Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.
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