With such songs comes great responsibility and of the many things that makes the West End arrival of Dreamgirls such a dazzling affair we must first applaud the casting. Every soul on the Savoy stage sounds and looks dynamic – and I mean dynamic. There really cannot be a better ensemble in the West End right now.
You almost wonder where this show can possibly go when the opening number is so strong, so emotive, so damn heartbreaking. Cathy is “Still Hurting” from the break-up of her relationship with Jamie and Samantha Barks is already singing the crap out of her darkest hour when we’ve barely settled in our seats
Patricia Routledge trained not only as an actress but also as a singer and had considerable experience and success in musical theatre, both in this country and in the United States of America. Her many awards include a Tony for her Broadway performance in the Styne-Harburg musical Darling of the Day and a Laurence Olivier Award for her performance in Leonard Bernstein’s Candide.
Well over a decade ago Stephen Sondheim expressed some interest in turning the movie Groundhog Day into a musical. Presumably he, too, would have turned to the movie’s scriptwriter Danny Rubin for the book – it is, after all one of those iconic screenplays, as inseparable from the talents of Bill Murray as it might … [Read More]
Strictly speaking it should have been billed as “Ramin Karimloo and Broadgrass at the London Palladium” – then we might have anticipated the support act and late arrival of the West End and Broadway star known especially for having journeyed through pretty much every principal role in The Phantom of the Opera (and, of course, its sequel Love Never Dies) and Les Miserables.
It has taken six years – and Michael Crawford – to bring Richard Taylor and David Wood’s poetic musicalisation of L P Hartley’s The Go-Between to the West End stage; and before the tired old debate begins as to what it is (opera? musical? play with music?), before anyone goes in search of a comforting label, let it be said that what really counts for something here is the storytelling.
Taylor writes an altogether different kind of musical in which “songs” rarely arrive fully formed but rather are in the process of evolving – beginnings of songs which are content just being songful and serving as aides-memoires, melodic remanants which in some cases return again and again with all their emotional memory intact. Wagner called them leitmotifs.
Rufus Norris may have commissioned a new adaptation of the Brecht by Simon Stephens to tick myriad boxes of contention from the politics of gender, sexuality, disability, and (naturally) the Middle East to the ever looming shadow of radical nationalism but no amount of theatrical panache and comic posturing can ever really disguise the fact that between the songs Threepenny Opera is a bore.