Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

One flop to tip the scales

September 21, 2010 · No Comments

I’ve been trying very hard not to compare London with New York, and failing miserably. But I think that this is one topic on which I may be excused – Broadway vs. West End. As a native New Yorker, and someone fortunate enough to have seen a number of Broadway shows, I must admit to a certain bias. However, almost all of the shows that I have seen in London have been wonderful productions. The Merry Wives of Windsor at Shakespeare’s Globe, though painful due to standing for two hours, was definitely a unique experience. You can’t get quite the same feel in the states – it doesn’t feel as genuine. Les Misérables and 39 Steps were also very well done, offering two of my favorite things – music and comedy. I even enjoyed The Habit of Art, a more serious drama than I am usually partial to. Not only were each of the productions well executed technically, but I thought the actual acting, the conveying of emotion was phenomenal.

However, not every performance I attended left me with the same impression, and I’m afraid that one really bad experience has tipped the scale in Broadway’s favor. I think almost everyone in our program has heard of the great theatre debacle by now. If you haven’t, here’s a quick rundown: Mel, Dan and I went to see a show in the West End. I cannot reveal which show because we all decided that it was just too horrible to mention by name ever again. However, I can describe what was so terribly bad about it. Perhaps what I found most frustrating was that the show had such potential. The plotline allowed for many opportunities of real dance numbers. Instead we got the same exact choreography again and again, song after song. Usually in a musical, dance numbers also have singing. Again we were disappointed. Most, if not all of the songs were played from a soundtrack with the performers occasionally singing some obnoxiously loud misplaced note. And now we discuss the acting. To be fair, they really didn’t have much to work with, but even a high school student could have done a better job of conveying emotion. I suppose there was attempted humor, but the jokes were not funny and even if they had been, the lines were delivered without much enthusiasm.

Categories: 2010 Sarah

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