All the Fun? of the Fair

So, I should start by saying that the show I saw last night was in Preview. It doesn’t fully open for another week. Maybe in that week it will re-work it’s story, give it’s cast an energy drink or two and find itself some sort of spiritual home. That being said I think it rather unlikely and that it would take something of a miracle.

All the Fun of the Fair is a musical based on the songs of David Essex. It’s at the beautiful Garrick Theatre. Now I admit that I am no Essex fanboy, but then I didn’t have to like Queen to enjoy We Will Rock You. The music was throughout mostly lacklustre. The stringing together of the songs was done by a dreadfully weak story that barely made sense and to say it was basic doesn’t give basic stories much credit.

The portrayal of Johnny, a character with special needs (described in the play as being ‘a bit slow’, and in the cast list as ‘slow Johnny) was laughably bad, bordering on and frequently crossing into offensive – I thought we had left behind this sort of portrayal a decade ago – and the sickly sweet relationship between Jack and Alice was incipid to say the least.

The appeal (and I use the word loosely) of the show was obviously the chance to see David Essex, the pop legend.  Sadly his performance (perhaps based on his style which I know little about) is laid back and realxed with no energy, no drive and no passion.  His band seemed to me to be un-mic’d and the music pre-recorded, making their presence a joke.

A notable word goes to the lady playing Rosa (Louise English), the unimaginatively named gypsy fortune teller, whose voice was a saving grace in a sea of dirge and the lady who played her daughter Mary (Susan Hallam-Wright) who was equally a pleasurable to watch and listen to.

I could go on to talk about the rest of the cast’s performances, but there’s no point in slating what were some keen and enthusiastic roles, but they were just directed and choreographed so badly that it’s probably not fair to them to do so.

Perhaps the only other positive thing I could say is that the set was pretty and I liked the appearance of the dodgems, although why the horses were there and not referred to / used at all baffles me.  I thought the lighting was pretty good too, although will I suspect get a little tweaking during it’s previews.

Don’t go and see this.  Not even if you are a David Essex fan.  Buy a dvd of him at his best, listen to Godspell or something.  It will save yourself the pain of this ‘production’.  If you do want to see it (although if I haven’t made this clear enough already: DON’T) then I’d be quick.  I’ll be amazed if you get the chance for long.

Published in: on April 22, 2010 at 11:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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