Even thinking about the plot gives me second-hand embarrassment. US evangelist Reverend Bobby Del La Ray launches GOD-TV, Britain’s first pay-to-view religious channel, which soon flops but as he is having to launder money for the Sicilian mafia who are holding his mother hostage, he turns to the one thing that he believes will increase his audience – hardcore porn, with the rationale that people need to know what sin is in order to be saved from it.
In The Life, drug-dealing Guys and rent-by-the-hour Dolls walk a side of 42nd Street far shadier than the tapdancing one at Drury Lane. The daily grit and the nightly grind are underpinned with a spectacularly revitalized score from Cy Coleman fusing jazz and blues with his musical theatre roots, and some spunky new dialogue from still-got-it-baby veteran Michael Blakemore who directed the Broadway version a mere 38 years ago.
There’s a moment early on in The Life where Sharon D Clarke’s been-around-the-block-and-then-some Sonja has a moment akin to Jenna Russell’s ‘The Revolutionary Costume for Today’ in Grey Gardens where she utterly and completely steals the show with an outstanding musical number, the likes of which will scarcely be bettered all year.
Cy Coleman has a fine track record of taking an acerbic view of iconic American cities. With City Of Angels his score parodied a film noir view of Los Angeles – and here, with The Life, he peels back the fairytale of New York to reveal the truer uglier side of 42nd Street and Broadway that persisted throughout much of the last century.
The London Musical Theatre Orchestra (LMTO) announces star casting for its much-anticipated concert presentation of Alan Menken and Lynn Ahrens’ A Christmas Carol, with Robert Lindsay as Scrooge and Carrie Hope Fletcher and her sister-in-law and fellow vlogger Giovanna Fletcher performing together for the first time.