Monday, 18 April 2016

out of this world

On Friday 15th April we all (with Hei Mun, Laura and Margaret) went to Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre in Walthamstow and saw the London premiere production of an old Cole Porter musical, Out Of This World. It was fine, but not a lost classic by any means.

Another All Star Production, like Bye Bye Birdie, but not as good material to work with. The songs were on the whole unremarkable - Cole Porter did like his list songs, as there were at least three here. I liked three songs in particular - the romantic duet From This Moment On (which had an interesting turn to the melody) and two lighter songs, What Do You Think About Men? (a trio) and I Sleep Easier (Juno solo). There were a couple of dance interludes, and the whole show had plenty ensemble singing and dancing, which I always like (and they did very well in quite a small space). The plot was a combination of insubstantial, ridiculous and unsavoury (then central plot being Jupiter 'seducing' a new bride by taking her husband's form, which like so many of those 'gods seducing women' stories was essentially a rape story.

There were no stand-out performances, though Rhiannon Moushall as Juno was probably the best of the lot, and Ruth Betteridge as the romantic lead had a lovely voice. From the programme I don't think I'd seen any of the performers before (though as usual most of them are on Twitter), except it was the same musical director as Bye Bye Birdie, and I'm pretty sure the same drummer and possibly the same wind instrumentalist. The only slight unevenness in the performances was in some of the chorus work, where most people were playing it straightforwardly but two or three were being over-the-top and cheesy; it felt like you really had to choose one or the other. So it was a pleasant enough evening, but not one I'd widely recommend beyond musical devotees.

Some reviews (we were, it turned out, there on press night, the main implication of which for us seemed to be that we got the programme for free, but it's still slim pickings so far online). West End Wilma (3/5, a fair review). Musical Theatre Review (4/5, makes good points, and a fair plot summary, but the 4's too much I think; 'while the songs were much enjoyed at the time (although none becoming a hit) it was the book – seen as too vulgar and rambling – that brought the show to an early close after just 157 performances'). The Waltham Cat (new to me; overpraises). BroadwayWorld. Sardines (new to me; picked this up from a company tweet, rather than Google, thus it's as glowing as you'd expect a company-tweeted review to be).