Lend Me Tenor -the musical

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Lend Me Tenor -the musical

Postby Barry » Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:51 pm

The Gielgud Theatre, August 6th 2011

Now here's a tricky one. A rather ill fated show, clsoign after just eight weeks. An american musicalisation of a much loved farce about shenanigans backstage at an opera company. Yesterday were the last performances, and I had not really intended to see it but being the last day and hearing that the small audiences were actually rather loving it, I gave it a go. I did not enter the auditorium in the best frame of mind as I had been in Dress Circle where some of the cast and producers had been doing a CD signing. Fine, but then I witnessed the producers walking back to the theatre being very very loud and annoucning in no uncertain terms that they had put on this 'tremendous piece of theatre'. In spite of it closing so early, they had such a smugness and uncomfortable overinflated sense of importance in regards the show. And all through the show they were the ones laughing more loudly than the audience.

However, to the show. The original piece was a farce, with much confusion and misunderstanding and compromising situations, and being a piece about putting on a performance of Verdi's Otello I guess it seemed a good idea to make a musical out of it, putting in many cod operatic songs - sung amazingly by most of the cast (not a certain Matthew Kelly) of essential musical performers seguing to opera with alarming ease. And it was a jolly piece of theatre, if very laboured, and oddly structured that a principal character was missing for much of the show, but what it was was not a farce. Farce depends on increasingly pace and confusion - we got the confusion, but the pace was killed by the songs. Some of the songs were good - one a compilation of opera's highlights, and another a very faux operatic duet about somethign so trivial - but they did nothing to actually forward or include the plot, and the action just stopped, which was lethal. It only reached farcical proportions in a short scene in the second act where there are three Otello's on stage (always a good plot device) at the same time visible to the audience, running in and out of doors, but to each character there is only one other Otello. Some clever staging and timing there, but this had nothing to do with the musical side. Other than adding much music and bits of Otello, and giving license for some dancing, turning it into a musical really did not add anything. And the show was saddled with the worst poster design ever. Sad to see such a venture go, especially as it boasted some amazing performances, and an extravagantly inventive set and costumes, but i think I just want to see the original again.
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