Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Tom Deering’

The weather hasn’t been kind to us this year at the Open Air Theatre. We managed to get through On the Town with delays and shivers, and this one with a thirty minutes unscheduled break in the first half. Though I’m a regular at OAT musicals, I didn’t book for this last year as I’m not that keen on Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s music (except Evita and his collaboration with Puccini, Phantom of the Opera!) and I’m an unbeliever (though if I was, I might take offence at some scenes). The reviews, awards and friends suggested I’d made a mistake, so we booked for this second run. Though there were things I admired, I think I was right first time.

It tells the story of the last year of Jesus’ life, sung through, more rock opera than musical, a year after The Who started the genre with Tommy. The music seems dated, much more so than other music of the period. The seriousness of the story doesn’t really allow Tim Rice to shine lyrically, with his trademark sharp wit. Timothy Sheader’s production seems more rock concert than musical theatre, returning the show to its first flash Broadway outing rather than following the more restrained London production.

Here we have Tom Scutt’s giant two-story metal structure with a huge fallen cross, something like 300 spotlights and smoke, flares and fire. I found myself admiring the spectacle, but not at all engaged with the story. The singing honours belong to Tyrone Huntly as Judas, who is as sensational, as had been suggested, and as he was in Dreamgirls, and there’s a terrific band under Tom Deering. Drew McConie’s choreography is bold and is the freshest aspect of the show.

Great spectacle, but I went to a musical not a rock concert, so not enough for me I’m afraid.

Read Full Post »

This is a cross between London Road, the NT’s ground-breaking verbatim ‘musical’ about the Ipswich prostitute murders, and those terrific ‘tribunal’ plays at the Tricycle, but without the depth of either. Though there is much to admire and enjoy, it seemed ever so slight to me. Though the writers are experienced as director, actor and MD, I wondered if their lack of experience as writers showed.

The full title is The Public Administration & Constitutional Affairs Committee takes oral evidence on Whitehall’s relationship with Kids Company. In Robert Jones uber-realistic design, we are in the public gallery of one of the committee rooms in Portcullis House. The charity’s founder, Camila Batmanghelidjh, and its Chairman, the BBC Creative Director Alan Yentob, are being questioned by MP’s, interspersed with the evidence of others who’d been employed by or involved with the charity which spent nearly £50m of tax-payers money in questionable ways without much management control, it seems.

It doesn’t really come to any conclusions, but it implies that though her heart was in the right place, she was unqualified for her role and many, including Yentob and government ministers, were under her spell. All of the questions and evidence are taken from the transcripts, and some dialogue is sung, including a number of short songs, to piano and string accompaniment. Tom Deering’s music is good, but I’m not sure the musical form adds anything, like it did in London Road.

The trouble is it’s an insubstantial 75 minutes, so it’s unable to do the subject justice. Almost as soon as it got going it was over, which is a shame as the creative and performing contributions are good. The vocal honours belong to Omar Ebrahim as Yentob and Sandra Marvin as Batmanghelidgh and there’s fine acting from another seven performers as the five MP’s, including Bernard Jenkin and Kate Hoey, the committee clerk and assistant.

All I could think of at the end was why on earth there hasn’t been a more thorough public inquiry about this; it was tax-payers money, after all. A missed opportunity, I’d say, and not very good value at 50p per minute!

Read Full Post »