Wednesday, September 07, 2005

lennon: the musical

A while back I had a poke at the mercifully short-lived Oscar Wilde: The Musical, a theatrical abomination from the same pen that brought us Cliff!, the Cliff Richard musical.

Then came Diana The Princess: A Celebration In Dance, from the people who'd brought us The King, a 'dansical spectacular' that told the story of Elvis in a combination of classical, contemporary, show dance and tap styles.

On 14th August a new musical atrocity was inflicted in New York. Lennon: The Musical, 'a misconceived affair which suffers from both timidity and banality'.

Nine of the cast, with a mixture of genders and ethnicities, portray Lennon. One of them also has to do Winston Churchill, David Frost and the Queen at various other times. Really.

The New York Daily News said of the nine

They all seemed amateurish. Then, so does everything about the show. Apparently there was no budget for a choreographer, because the little dancing there is would embarrass the director of a high school musical.

The New York Times said:

In the immortal words of Yoko Ono, 'Aieeeee!' A fierce primal scream -- of the kind Ms. Ono is famous for as a performance and recording artist -- is surely the healthiest response to the agony of 'Lennon,' the jerry-built musical shrine that opened last night at the Broadhurst Theater.

According to one source the show is bombing and won't make its planned big days of October 9th (John's birthday) and December 8th (the anniversary of his death).

And this is all after the show opened in San Francisco, got panned and had a radical rewrite to make it more historically accurate (the Beatles appear more, though still over and done with in the first half hour).

But the thing is that even a good balanced script wouldn't deliver a production worth watching. These shows are performed by superficial stage school smugs who couldn't rock if their insignificant lives depended on it.

More than that, the very concept insults the public as well. The patronising cheap and lazy approach of doing such a show beggars belief. Roll up roll up! Be thrilled, enthralled, amazed and enlightened by some songs you already know played by people with no soul, people who dream of singing excremental Lloyd-Webber tosh.

The New York Daily News again:

Jukebox musicals — shows based on the songs of a popular entertainer — always raise one big question: Should you plop down $100 for a theater ticket or just stay home and listen to your old records?

In the case of 'Lennon,' the answer is easy: Light one up and put on the stereo.

Ditto all other jukebox musicals.

Which, it must be said, are still better than other musicals, which are just as bad but with far poorer songwriting. Anyone who goes to see Phantom of The Opera should forfeit their ownership of ears.


Jim Bliss said...

Apparently Yoko is a fan though. How weird is that.

Anonymous said...

Is it wrong for me to like Mamma Mia?


zoe said...

oops it folded.
who would've thunk?

merrick said...

Cath, of course it is wrong for you to like Mamma Mia. All the lame patronising easy-buck half-arsedness of jukebox muxsicals insult your taste and intelligence.

Obviously, Mamma Mia isn't quite as bad a musical desecration as Lennon: The Musical, but then it's hard to see what would be short of digging up Brian Jones' body and getting Gareth Gates to shit on it.