Musical Theatre: Comparing old with new

Last week I had the somewhat dubious pleasure of sampling two musicals. One is a scathing social satire on contemporary values whereas the other is a gruesome tale of revenge that ends in a bloodbath for all concerned. One is a complex work that draws on recurring classical motifs whilst the other takes a magpie approach to the classic styles of twentieth century musicals. One is regarded as one of the great musicals by a legend in his field. The other has been championed by Lorraine Kelly. But are we letting reputations get ahead of us?

In the interests of fairness, Civilian Theatre has assessed the merits of both shows to see whether Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, the perennially popular Stephen Sondheim musical that won rave reviews at the Chichester Festival last year and has since transferred to the West End, is really any better than WAG! The Musical, which was enjoying its world premiere at the Ye Olde Rose and Crown in Walthamstow.

So there you have it, a win for the WAGS. The colossus of Broadway has been brought to his knees by some upstart wives of footballers. As any sportsman knows – the stats don’t lie. WAG! the musical has proved itself every inch the equal of Sweeney Todd and Sondheim (lyricist for West Side Story, Academy Award Winner, Pulitzer Prize Winner, Winner of 8 Tony’s, 8 Grammy’s and 6 Olivier Awards and with a theatre named after him) clearly has been humbled by a new challenger for the crown.

See more here:

WAG!

Sweeney Todd

Editors Note: Apologies to Mr Sondheim for the misspelt Sweeney in the above article. If I hadn’t been moved close to despair by uploading gremlins then the amendment would have been made.

So this looks…um…

Words fail me but luckily they don’t fail Pippa ‘”My own experience is completely different” Fulton. Apparently her “relationship is a million miles away from the characters in the play, I am familiar with the world of WAGs, so I can put my own experiences into the part.” Whilst not being entirely clear if dating a Brentford striker (currently riding high 8th in League Division 2) strictly speaking qualifies you as a wag of the first rank and so a recourse to method acting will no doubt have to come into play to create a fully-rounded character.To be perfectly fair, Pippa did rise to stardom on BBC hit show Fame Academy and since then her career has been going from strength to strength, as her biography demonstrates.

It has been a bit harder to locate the acting credentials of the other big-name signing, Jessica Lawlor, but one needs only look to her sterling performance in lying to the Republic of Ireland manager, Steve Staunton, by telling him that Stephen Ireland’s maternal grandmother had died so that he could get out of playing a crucial game against the Czech Republic to know that she has the chops for such a major role.

Well-timed to coincide with the European Championships, the ‘acclaimed’ Rose and Crown Theatre Pub will presumably have to put in an upper-tier to meet the demand for this neo-Brechtian social satire on money and fame. With such promising material, it is important that the team behind WAG! don’t cheapen the whole affair by trying to drum-up cheap celebrity-driven content.

Oh…

http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/tv_and_showbiz/s/1487884_wag-side-story-new-musical-about-footballers-wives-to-star-stephen-irelands-finacee-jessica-lawlor

Well that is a regional press, its not as if a national newspaper has used it as an opportunity to include a double-page spread using sexy photos of Wags as a selling point,

http://www.wagthemusical.com/wagsmusicalnewspaper.pdf

Oh.