Thursday, March 30, 2006

Drama Queen- Theatrical Flops

This week I was unlucky enough to witness two theatrical disasters.....

Sinatra at the Palladiuium
Directed by David Leveaux.
Where do I start with this? Firstly to call it theatre would be wildly optimistic if the experience was anything it was cinematic. Rare footage of the late crooner was digitally enhanced and beamed onto a blank screen while a band and some rather second rate dancers cavorted around Ol Blue Eyes. At no point was an illusion of Frank actually being there ever achieved and the best that can be said was the tunes were great. Apparently this show cost a fortune to produce (it obviously wasn’t spent on choreography!) and one cant help feeling the producers would have been better off removing the dancers and just showing the enhanced footage as a straight movie. One particularly incompetent review burbled that “as the image of Frank drifted across the stage it was hard not to believe he was there”……..drivel if anyone can be carried away by a projection screen hoisted across the stage on wires and accompanied by dancers left over from seaside special, they need to be committed. The final insult to good taste came as images of Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and John F. Kennedy drifted across the screens to the accompaniment of Frank singing Send in the Clowns! This particular "montage" was ended with a dancer dressed as Jackie Kennedy, in the "Dallas outfit" releasing a balloon and looking tearful…..How tasteless can you get? Am I being to harsh? Possibly? The audience, which appeared to be almost entirely made up of local authority housing tenants , seemed to love it……but then there really is no accounting for taste. I had complimentary tickets and still felt cheated! Save your money and stay home with a Sinatra CD.
* Star

Resurrection Blues
By Arthur Miller. Directed by Robert Altman

The Old Vic
Considering the author, director and an all star cast including Neve Campbell, Jane Adams, Matthew Modine, James Fox and Maximillian Schell, you would have expected a pretty great show…….wrong. Miller died shortly after writing this piece presumably of shame or terminal boredom. The dreary plot concerns a possible messiah and a possible execution in some banana republic and is tentatively billed as comedy.....Hah! If a dreadful script weren’t enough, the production is further hampered by clumsy direction, a certain TV/movie star unable to project past the first three rows (Neve you know who you are!) and a performance by James Fox more wooden than a lumber yard. The only glimmer of saving grace was a competent performance by Mr Schell and the decoration offered by Mr Modine. All in all, a big disappointment
* Star

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