Flops

Hello again! Sorry there has been a little break on my blog page for the past couple of weeks – but I’m back now and ready to get blogging again!

I read with interest a review of Gigi on Broadway starring High School Musical actress Vanessa Hudgens. Gigi is a musical that has always sat a bit uncomfortably for a modern audience – the story of a fifteen year old girl being groomed to be a rich man’s mistress, only for the rich man to fall in love with her and they live happily ever after! Not sure it would pass muster in a literary department today but then again, neither would Romeo & Juliet!

Key to the article is that the show had been ‘watered down’ so exclude the not so pleasant undertones of prostitution and by doing so the play was left as a bit of a shell of it’s former self and a bit, well, boring. It will be interesting to see how the run pans out and whether the relative star casting of Hudgens manages to keep it going in a notoriously difficult market.

It got me thinking about some of the bad shows I’ve seen. One of the most disappointing was Viva Forever. I remember being really excited when it was announced there was going to be a Spice Girls musical a la Mamma Mia and was even more excited when my equally ‘girl power’ obsessed friend wanted to go with me to see it. We got tickets for the front of the Royal Circle and counted down the days until it was time to party Spice Girls style. The day arrived and the theatre was packed to the rafters with fans – including a row of girls beside us who were completely drunk before the first song!

The show began and….erm…what? It was just…terrible. And not in a so bad it’s good way, just truly terrible. First and foremost the story just made no sense whatsoever. There was no beginning, middle and end, just a lazy compilation of scenes that were unfunny, tired and quite frankly boring. By the end of the first act I just knew this was a stinker, no matter how much goodwill (or booze) the audience had.

It ended up closing 8 weeks after its first performance, which is always sad – especially for the performers and creative’s involved who suddenly found themselves out a job. But fundamentally, this was a show that rested on it’s laurels and ,in my opinion, the producers were very cocky about the kind of show an audience would accept so long as it had a few well known songs in it.

I think it’s a very important point that producers and directors should never underestimate their audience, no matter what ‘kind’ of audience you think your show will attract it is your responsibility to push the whole production team to create the best show possible….even if in the case of Viva Forever it means asking Jennifer Saunders to take out some of her god awful jokes from the script.

What was the production you’ve even seen and why? Answer on a postcard (or a comment!)

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