Saturday, 5 November 2016

side show

On Friday 4th November Maisie and I went with Hei Mun to the Southwark Playhouse to see Side Show, which was not bad.

It was the UK premiere (like so many of the musicals we seem to see on the fringe) of a 1997 musical based on the lives of conjoined twins Daisy and Violet Hinton. I had wondered how it was done, because it could be done quite unappealingly (grotesque, or sordid, say), but looking into it I thought it wouldn't be like that and would be fine for us.

It was pretty well done (singing, dancing, acting), and the twins in particular (Louise Dearman and Laura Pitt-Pulford) were very good. It was unusual in that I don't think I'd seen any of the cast before (unless they'd happened to do their stint in a long-running west end musical at the moment when we saw it - one of the twins is apparently notable for having been the only person so far to play both the lead roles in Wicked).

The music and lyrics were slightly too much towards the modern end for me - linear, free-form - but there were some good solid proper songs, including, as one might have hoped/expected, some good duetting. So I'm glad I saw it, and I'd recommend it to anyone who was particularly keen on musicals, but not to just anyone or more generally for a night out.  (So Bethan didn't come with us last night, and I didn't encourage her to see it.) Unlike, say, Wonderful Town, which we saw last Friday (and which I shall write up in a second).

It was a bit unfortunate in that quite a lot of the time it felt like we were sitting behind the performance - seating was on three sides, and we were towards the stage end of one side, and they're usually pretty good at performing all-round in such set-ups but this production did feel quite forward-facing. (It did make the words hard to make out sometimes, which wasn't helped by the fact that I think we were sitting quite near where the band were (hidden under/behind the staging).