Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Cheers to All Things Not Made in the 1980′ (Besides Me)

September 14, 2009 · No Comments

Just when I thought things had taken a turn for the better in my London Theatre experience. Ah well, it’s probably for the best. Everyone knows that happiness is unhealthy for you, but I digress, let’s make structured arguments on how Blood Brothers managed to be so awful.

I think the greatest problem of the play had to have been the music. Premiering in the West End in 1983, I would not be surprised if the score has not changed by even a note since then. With crashing synthetic drums on every number (why people got it into their head that actual drums were simply not good enough is simply beyond the scope of imagination. That being said, the single greatest success in synth drumming: The Pinacle of the Synth Drum) and saxophones trumpeting at seemingly random times, the score was disorganized at best and a reason to pop a handful of Advil at its worst. All of this can hardly go being mentioned without also adding also that this music was being played so loudly, that it was actually drowning out the actors and actresses trying to sing. Amid complete the complete chaos that was the soundtrack, I feebly tried to pick out whatever words I could, the most frequently heard phrase being “Marylyn Monroe”. After having a generally pleasant time going to both theatres and concerts in London, I was shocked to see how something like this could be in existence. I realize that show has been playing for nearly twenty years, but at some point the directors of this show have to realize that this is a theatre performance and not a museum exhibit. It seems that at some point along the two decades of Blood Brothers, the producers and directors and even actors forgot that Theatre is something that grows and changes over time. While I’m sure that several people would be upset if the writers cut out half of the pointless and sometimes tactless references to a certain blonde-haired actress, most of the audience would understand that at some point the show has to grow beyond its original conception.

Take the Shakespeare performances at the new Globe Theater for instance. It’s pretty safe to say that the performances that go on today are quite far from how they were a few hundred years ago. In As You Like It, Touchstone’s role in the play was expanded to play more of a comedic role. While this was in no means necessary for the progression of the plot, Touchstone’s added hilarity only added to the jubilant and light-hearted nature of the play.

After walking out of Blood Brothers into the fading afternoon with a profound headache, I was struck with a slightly twisted thought. Maybe Blood Brothers should stay at the Phoenix as an exhibit more than a production. People can come from around the world to see what happens when complacency replaces ambition and something that lives and breathes as theatre does can be turned into nothing more than a VHS tape (no DVD’s back then), playing the same video that lost its significance somewhere between the 500th and 1000th showing (I’m actually slightly scared to even imagine the 2nd showing, much less the 1000th).

Categories: Paul
Tagged: , , ,

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below..

You must log in to post a comment.