Friday, 3 July 2009

Forbidden Broadway - Menier Chocolate Factory

Forbidden Broadway
Writer: Gerard Alessandrini
Director: Phillip George
Reviewer: John Roberts

For the past twenty seven years no show has been safe from the sharp satirical stab of Gerard Alessandrini’s theatrical savaging, and it is a joy to finally see the show over the waters the first time in over ten years.

What started off as a small night time cabaret spot to showcase Alessandrini’s talent as a performer has spawned various incarnations throughout the musical theatre world.

Forbidden Broadways latest production includes some of the ‘old time’ favourites from previous Forbidden Broadway shows including the hilarious send up of Les Miserables and the Lion King to a new song which highlights the trend for camp in the West End with Hairspray, Priscilla and soon to open Legally Blonde, even the Menier’s own Midas Man (David Babani) isn’t safe from the battering as the show spoofs his current productions of A Little Night Music and La Cage Aux Folles.
Although a knowledge of musical theatre would be a distinct advantage for any viewer watching this production I feel you wouldn’t be alienated from any of the sketches and skits as director Phillip George has produced a slick and very comic 2 hours worth of entertainment.

The strong cast of four; Anna-Jane Casey, Sophie-Louise Dann, Alasdair Harvey & Steven Kynman give their all, including a dazzling array of facial grimaces and strong vocals, but it was Steven Kynman and his Silly Billy (Billy Elliot) routine that provided this reviewer with the most laughs along with a very witty Elaine Page and The King and I skit.

Don’t get me wrong there were certain elements of the show that I feel needs a little tightening, the constant blackouts after every song really started to grate, and loosing certain lyrics due to badly mixed sound at times meant very funny lyrics were left with a very big blank.

Forbidden Broadway is a breath of fresh air and loving provides numerous pokes at the shows and composers that litter the West End I just hope its not another ten years before it finds a home here again!

Photos: Alastair Muir
Forbidden Broadway runs at the Menier until Sat 19th September 09
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