Thursday, June 15, 2006

Everyone's a critic 

David and I went to see Showboat at the Royal Albert Hall last night. They have taken advantage of the shape of the Albert Hall to show the production "in the round", i.e. instead of being on the stage, the production is in the central auditorium and the audience are in the seats around the edge.

I enjoyed it and so did most of the audience. The woman behind me was finding the funny parts very funny.

The critics were another story. The one for The Telegraph summed-up the performance accurately but I wonder if some of the others actually saw the same show. A review of the reviews (what a handy idea!) presented an essentially positive view but with some ludicrous shortcomings.

One felt that the large size of the stage meant that he sometimes couldn't see who was speaking. I find that looking to see who's mouth is moving often helps in those situations. Having the show on a regular stage probably wouldn't have helped in a production of this size.

Another thought that the black people were clich├ęd. Hello? This is a revival of a show that was first shown in 1927 and was set at around the beginning of the 20th century. What did the reviewer want? Revolution? Bling? Rap-artists?

A third didn't like the cutesy happy ending. I like happy endings, personally, and don't think there are enough in the world. However, casting aside the final number, where all the actors come on and everyone claps and should never be considered part of the plot in any show, the ending was, I thought, rather ambiguous.

I suppose the critics would not be doing their jobs if they gave positive opinions all the time.

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