YOU WON’T SUCCEED ON BROADWAY IF YOU DON’T HAVE ANY JEWS
developed & directed by Daniel Donskay & Michaela Stern.
St James Theatre 12 Palace Street SW1E 5JA To 5 September 2015.
Tue-Sat 7.30pm Mat Sat 2.30pm.
Runs 2hr 15min One interval.
TICKETS: 0844 264 2140.
Review: William Russell 27 August.
Lots of razzle, dazzle but same old songs from the shows.
This polished and very well-performed show is basically just another of those songs from the musicals anthologies that tour the regions relentlessly. It does, however, have a theme inspired by the song from Spamelot, which is its title.
The cast perform the songs splendidly, the dancers are athletic and skilled, the band superb. Yet the songs are predictable and the accompanying voice-over from the wings is dire.
As a history of the Jewish contribution to Broadway and the world of American popular song it is not only badly delivered, but makes lots of peculiar assumptions and, for reasons presumably to do with not being allowed to use their songs, omits any mention of composers in anybody’s list of the great Broadway Jews (pronounced by whoever delivers it as “juice”).
No Kern, no Friml, no Strouse, no Weill, no Romberg and amazingly no Herman, the man who above all mastered the art of the Broadway show song. What could have been a fascinating and hugely entertaining, illuminating revue about the Jewish contribution to the Broadway musical manages only to be an entertaining but overly-familiar trot round some ‘greatest hits’, one or two of which should not be there.
The songs are very well sung, but nobody ever stands still, and the performers endlessly make love to the audience, eyes and teeth agleam, to the detriment of their material. Calm down, dears. They are only show tunes. Things will work much better if you do.
The dancers do some stunning leaps, gyrate their hips superbly and high-kick amazingly, but none of it has any relation to the chosen songs. It would be invidious to name names of individual performers – so go for the splendid cast, singers and dancers, and the too-familiar tunes. You will not, however, learn anything worth learning about the Broadway Jews.
Cast: David Albury, John Barr, Lloyd Daniels, Sarah Earnshaw, Sophie Evans, Danny Lane, Natalie Lipin, Jackie Marks, Alex Marshall, Yiftach Mizrahi, Mira Ormala, Rebecca Wicking.
Dancers: Rebecca Fennelly, Kevin Jack, Sophia McAvoy, Joshua Steel, Carrie Willis, Katy Woodley.
Directors: Daniel Donskoy, Michaela Stern.
Lighting: Shaun Parry.
Sound: Andrew Josephs.
Musical Director: Inga Davis-Rutter
Choreographer: Chris Whittaker.
Associate director: Evan Ensign.
Assistant Musical director: Nick Barstow.