Posts Tagged ‘Blink! … and you missed it’

Review – BLINK! … and you missed it – The Stag Pub

August 6, 2009

BLINK! …and you missed it is a show designed for the musical theater geeks out there … you know, the kind of people who read blog reviews of shows because they’re just that desperate to fill up their sad and lonely nights with that one little gem that they want to be sure they don’t miss and spend years regretting not having seen. For the more extreme, this may lead to trying to see … well, not so much the gems as the rocks, the big honking flops that go on to become showbiz legends. There’s even a book or two written about these dogs, so that those of us who missed their magic can savor the sweet pain of failure.

I, however, find little consolation in remembering a night spent yearning to leap over the other audience members in a mad rush to the door. I’ve seen a few flaming stinkers in my time, but I won’t seek them out deliberately. That said, there’s no denying that buried in the fetid pile of Shows That Did Not Sell are some gems of songs – no surprise when we’re talking greats like Kander & Ebb and Mr. Sondheim – who, shockingly, have not had nothing but a string of successes. (And, I am informed, there are shows that flopped the first time around due to “right show/wrong time” syndrome, like La Cage or even “right show/wrong country,” witness the early closing work of genius Drowsy Chaperone in London.)

So, for me, I approached Blink! as my big chance to enjoy some great songs – performed live – that I would have otherwise not had the chance to see on stage. That’s not, however, quite what I got, as the show had a bit of a theme and a goal, the theme being “highlight some big flops,” and the goal not being “play all of the great, forgotten songs that are wasting away in the sheet music for the turkey parade” (there being no excuse for playing “As We Stumble Along” from Drowsy Chaperone as it’s simply the lamest bit of music in the whole show). Some of the songs were simply meant to highlight shows that were examples of egregious lack of judgment on the part of their producers (i.e. Moby Dick, Side Show – about Siamese twins – and Silence, aka “of the Lambs”). Other songs were really great (“My Own Best Friend” from Chicago), some hinted at forgotten greatness (“Spark of Creation” from Children of Eden, which might have sucked as a show but the three women really sang up a storm). Overall, the shows were treated fairly reverently, rather than being made fun of, so if somehow a song or two you liked has made it in, you’re not likely to go away fuming that they brutalized or misrepresented it (well, except for the “egregious judgment” ones above).

In the midst of this, we also got to hear a song that was frightfully brilliant – “Everybody’s Girl,” lifted from Steel Pier (“It’s absolutely gratis/To use my apparatus”) – and a great performance of “When the Morning Comes” from Ballroom, which had sappy lyrics somehow redeemed by Elena Rossi’s singing. The high quality of the cast in general was fairly impressive, even though the mostly historical patter between numbers was a bit dry (if informative). Running time was not quite two hours with an interval, so I’d say this was, at 10 quid, a good way to spend your evening – and far better than actually having to sit through most of the musicals they were covering.

(“BLINK! … and you missed it” continues at the Above the Stag theater through August 16th, 2009.)

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Late summer 2009 theater schedule

July 21, 2009

This time of the year is full of Russian ballet and barbeques and beach time and precious little else other than the Union Theatre’s annual Gilbert and Sullivan show. The Mariinsky/Kirov is running a bit rich for my tastes, unfortunately (though the programming is so unimaginative I’m not too hurt), Anastasia Volochkova was a disaster, and I’ve already been to the Union. What, then, is on my schedule for the next month an a half?

Shockingly, I’ve still managed to get pretty busy, with an average of two shows a week. Carlos Acosta is at the Coliseum this week – an event long awaited and for which I bought tickets back in April or so – and I’ve also got some Kirov Swan Lake tickets for August so I won’t be completely balletless this summer. The Arcola is doing Ghosts, so I’ll get to add to my life count of Ibsen shows. And the West End Whingers have given me a hot tip on a new show, Jerusalem (at the Royal Court), that I’m hoping will take the tang of the crappy Peer Gynt I saw away (and have also apparently saved me from seeing The Black Album – I want to see new theater but only if it doesn’t suck).

On a lighthearted, summer appropriate, wallet-friendly musical kick, I’m going to see “Blink! – and you missed it,” ” hits from the shows you missed” (including The Act, The Rink, and Ragtime), which should be thoroughly tickling my musical theater geek funnybone, as well as La Cage Aux Folles, which for some reason Ambassadors was hawking at a “fill the theater at any cost” price (£10) back in June. I’ll be hitting Forbidden Broadway for a second go-round in mid-August, then winding everything up with Alan Cumming’s solo show I Bought a Blue Car Today on September 1st. What a great way to wrap up the summer!

Schedule:
23 July Thursday: Carlos Acosta & Friends (have an extra ticket FYI)
24 July Friday: La Cage Aux Folles
31 July Friday: Ghosts, Arcola
6 August Thursday: Blink! … and you missed it
7 August Friday: Jerusalem, Royal Court
8 August Saturday: Swan Lake, Kirov/Mariinsky Ballet, Royal Opera House
19 August Wednesday: Forbidden Broadway, Menier Chocolate Factory
25 August Tuesday: A Streetcar Named Desire, The Donmar Warehouse
1 September Tuesday: Alan Cumming’s I Bought a Blue Car Today

(Other shows TBA.)