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re: July 1st Saturday Matinee review

Posted by:
Jacqueline 01:36 pm MST 07/02/17
In reply to: July 1st Saturday Matinee review - RemyH 07:39 am MST 07/02/17

Wow! Thank you for your review!!!

> Hey up all,
> I'd guarded myself from most reviews before the show so
> I'm certain many things have been stated many times
> already, but here it goes! Jotting this down mainly to
> help myself remember. This is obviously full of spoilers.
> Just to put it out there first, I did have a great time!
> (Unfortunatelly my train home hit "a large animal" and was
> 1,5 hours late. Doncaster Station at Midnight shall be my
> new single release, oh boy oh boy.)
> Sitting in the auditorium of the lovely Coliseum Theatre,
> with the looping projection bats on the gauze and the
> Obsidian "newspapers" with the backstory littered around
> the seat rows, I did get a pleasant pang of anticipation.
> Clearly the show wants to do a bit of extra for the
> audience. The teaser-version synopsis which looped for the
> last few minutes before show start was a tiny bit annoying
> (yes, we get it) but hey ho, maybe it helps some people
> understand this deep and complex show (snort).
> Like the 10 year old kid sitting behind me? Someone
> apparently decided the show is suitable for kids, which it
> ain't. Pleanty of f-works and talk about the muscle of
> love, not to mention base to base action and more complex
> teenage emotions. Or maybe I'm just showing my age, when I
> was that young all I had was a sandbox, not 95 stalls
> seats to a hit musical.
> Anyhow, show start. Ladies and gentlemen, set your
> pacemakers! A bang, very handsomely made gauze
> disappearance trick and the much beloved "Love, Death and
> an American Guitar" monologue. Not the first Steinman
> musical to start with a speech, The Dream Engine (which I
> love to bits) was there first with the 15 minute long
> "Ketchup or Blood" rant. Sadly for me, but probably for
> the enjoyment of other audience members (not to mention
> Box Office), BOOH The Musical does not follow the example
> of the DE and dive into the Beckettian deep end. You don't
> have to give a flying bat about politics to enjoy the
> show, although the Falco Empire does remind me of a
> current self-made statesman blowing stuff up. Spooky how
> the show is politically relevant after all!
> To talk more about the Dream Engine influence in the show,
> obviously we have the gang of The Lost (Boys and Girls)
> led by a handsome lone wolf leader. From Baal to Strat,
> the names are not getting any better. This all rises from
> the Peter Pan deep in Steinman's soul, and while someone
> might say he never made a musical about Peter Pan, I'd say
> he's done at least three of them, including my much
> beloved Tanz der Vampire (still waiting for the decent
> English version). All sexy outcasts frozen in time and
> eternal youth. There's also a good spicing of West Side
> Story (read: Romeo and Juliet), the warring gangs being
> The Lost and Falco Corp., Tony and Maria played out by
> Strat and Raven.
> While the world of the Dream Engine is dark and violent,
> BOOH is much more innocent and jubilant. Strat, played
> very well by Mr. Benjamin Purkiss (pro tip to Coliseum
> theatre - ditch the comic sans font from the
> notifications, it's not selling the guy very well.
> Snobbery, I know, but comic sans?!), is a mutant boy fixed
> in the age of 18, both body and soul it seems, although he
> is supposed to have been 18 "for a while now". He is
> nothing like the manipulative sick kid Baal. Not
> specifying the time frame was a good move, it gives your
> brain something to do. 10 years? 50 years? How long does
> it take that even the daughter of the most powerful man in
> town has her bedroom wallpapers mouldy by age in a
> semi-collapsed society?
> What happened? Why is Manhattan "Obsidian"? War?
> Pollution? Was it heavy industry which started mutating
> the kids which led to a revolution that never ended? Was
> it all Falco's fault or was he just a man grasping his
> opportunity? Later it becomes obvious that our baddie is
> not really a villain at all, but early in the show I did
> break out in light sweat imagining The Orange Leader
> naming New Yourk "Onyx" and privatising the whole world.
> The horror.
> To make one more show comparison before moving on to
> detail, did anyone else have very strong flashbacks to
> Repo! The Genetic Opera? Families Falco and Rotti? Falco
> Industries and GeneCo? Genetic mutations? Isn's Raven just
> like Shilo from Repo! With her notebook, not being able to
> leave her room, playing her guitar, strangers outside her
> window (also brings Tanz der Vampire Sarah to mind). I'm
> not sure if this has been intentional or not, but I would
> not be one bit surprised if Steinman would be a fan of
> Terrance Zdunich, whom I consider to be the be the best
> thing since... well, since Jim Steinman.
> Anyway, long story short, it's a short story made long.
> It's the story Steinman has told all his life, and bless
> him three times over for it. It's a good story. It's an
> old story. It's a story we all know. To my endless
> delight, the plotline wasn't as bluntly simple as it's
> advertised as. The main side characters, while serving an
> obvious purpose of making the plot move forward, proved to
> be the best thing the show has to offer. Strat and Raven
> play out the obvious part of (slightly) star-crossed
> lovers and have plot-wise little interest (we all know how
> it goes), but Raven's parents and the dynamics within The
> Lost group beefed the story up very well.
> Take Raven's parents. Her dad Falco is a Big Family Man
> who is only Protecting His Family by not letting them
> outside or do anything. He does nasty things when he
> manages to catch some of The Lost, but doesn't seem to
> hurt anyone badly enough to stop them from singing
> "Objects in the Rear View Mirror". He decapitates an ugly
> baby doll and smacks the head offstage with a baseball
> bat. Talk about cheesy villainy, but it went together with
> the song (In the Land of the Pig the Butcher Is King). A
> lot of hot air and pomp but no slaughter. Rob Fowler who
> plays him is about perfect for the part, the casting is
> very good all around anyway.
> Raven's mom Sloane, played by Sharon Sexton, stole the
> show for me. She is a slightly aged party girl who just
> wanna have fun, ends up teaming up with the rebels and
> basically, in her way, saving the town and the family.
> Brilliant. More realistic and strong female characters in
> theatre, please. Her interaction with her husband is very
> well directed and emphasises the more realistic aspects of
> the otherwise over-the-top show. This is very wise,
> considering the average age of the audience and the fact
> that many of them have lived the songs with their own
> teenage loves and later family troubles.
> Their first song together is the iconic song "Who Needs
> the Young", which is making it's third trip to the
> theatre, first featured in the Dream Engine, then in Tanz
> der Vampire and now BOOH. Always a duet between a man and
> a woman, the song serves its purpose beautifully in the
> context of a married couple who have lost the oomph from
> their union ("Is there anyone left who can screw? Fuck
> them!).
> At times Falco and Sloane have a good old gut-chilling
> family row and I feel myself shrinking in my seat with
> empathy. These scenes are alterated with
> laughing-with-tears-down-my-face reconciliation scenes of
> rowdy and clumsy make-up sex or just plain real adult
> talking "She's all we have ". "We have each other." "She
> is all we have!")
> Dialogue in general is briliant when Steinman has his
> tongue in cheek, and cringeworthy corny when he tries to
> be seriously romantic. Take the "our bodies rhyme" thing
> from Strat to Raven, which first appeared in the
> unfortunate case of Dance of the Cheeseballs on Broadway,
> "our hearts beat in the same rhythm". Shudder. Gag. Maybe
> I'm an old cynic but it does not work for me. However bits
> like "My dad told me a lot about sex." "That must have
> been awful!" are pure side-splitting goodness.
> My favourite joke, which was not in dialogue but very much
> in action, was when Raven surpised her half-naked parents
> arguing, and as a revenge for the humiliation pushed their
> car down to the "orchestra pit", which was followed by a
> crushed trombone flying on the stage. The trombone was
> followed by a smashed cello, the musicians and the MD
> holding a bent baton, angrily walking across the stage
> with an air of "I feckin quit". This is EXACTLY the
> correct way of breaking the fourth wall. I almost died
> laughing. The band is very good by the way, although front
> row is not the best place for sound quality. A13 is a very
> good seat though with no monitors in front of your face,
> but sitting right behind the conductor. Michael Reed (what
> a name!) does a very good job and he seems to enjoy the
> music.
> The car in the pit was only one of the many, many amazing
> tricks of the set. Whatever they've paid Jon Bauson for
> the design, it ain't enough. If it wasn't the car, the end
> of act 1 slow-motion exploding motorcycle would take the
> prize. The. Parts. Of. The. Bike. Formed. A. Heart.
> Flying. In. The. Air. It. Was. So. Cool.
> The large element back of stage left which started as a
> monstrous guitar neck, turning into the Falco tower and
> Raven's bedroom, The Losts bike garage/bar, doubling as a
> projection screen and about 7 other things was by far the
> most enjoyable stage element I have ever seen. I also let
> out a grunt of delight when one square bit on the other
> side of the stage, which had served only as a projection
> screen for the best part of the show, suddenly turned into
> a new room in the set. Throws you off with a very clever
> surprise! I enjoyed the live video projection (designed by
> Finn Ross), which gave the actors a chance to take down
> the acting and do stuff with their faces. It created a
> nice sense of intimacy on an otherwise large and deep
> stage.
> I wasn't too keen on the costumes, which were a bit too
> polished and glittery for my taste. I was expecting a more
> raggedy gang, but it looks like you don't have to give up
> sequins and hooker heels even if you live in the sewer
> system. Eh. But I'm not one who understands fashion, maybe
> mixing animal prints is in in their time, and black
> feathers on a 70's porn star peach silk shirt is the very
> cutting edge in the far Obsidian future. Maybe they have
> raided an abandoned Gap.
> The only other thing which didn't work for me was the
> choreography. I am not one who likes a lot of dancing in
> musicals (I know, it's my problem really). One of the
> reasons I love Tanz der Vampire is that there is always a
> reason for the dancing, it has a function and a purpose in
> the scene. In other musical theatre it's like with the
> singing, it's not supposed to be "real" but a reflection
> of the characters' inner feelings. That's where my
> problems probably start, I'm not sure what they are
> supposed to be feeling with that bobbing. Happy? The
> movement is avant garde at best, plain silly at worst. But
> again, maybe that's how they dance in the future, it's not
> worse than twerking. The ensemble does give it a good go,
> they are all fantastic dancers.
> As the songs go, it's the work of Frankensteinman, all the
> good bits are there stitched neatly together. I couldn't
> catch one bar of music which would qualify as new
> material, but I knew it would be a jukebox musical. While
> plots of some jukebox shows manage to be about as relevant
> as a juice box, BOOH has the advantage of having the
> original composer who dunnit yielding the scalpel. The
> songs are considerably shorter, which is good, and they
> represent a wide selection of songs originally not made
> for Meat or the BOOH series, which is excellent. Original
> Sin and Bad For Good were very much there to my joy.
> While there were slight changes to the lyrics, not all had
> been changed. At times it made no sense to have two
> familiar charactes sing "I don't know who you are" to one
> another (Dead Ringer), and Raven has to travel a bit from
> Obsidian (Manhattan) to experience that chilly California
> sand (For Crying Out Loud), but I don't want to be the
> person who bitches about minor inconsistencies. Especially
> since there were toe-curling good moments when the already
> existing lyrics fit the plot exactly, like Raven being "in
> the room at the top" (Out of the Frying Pan) and Sloane
> asking Falco if he "can build an emerald city with these
> grains of sand". And by the way, if you STILL don't get
> what THAT is in I'd Do Anything for Love after the
> representation in this show, you must be thicker than a
> yard or lard. Maybe think "lurve"?
> All and all the show could have gone much deeper with the
> semi-post-apocalyptic backstory and analysis of the
> characters, but I don't think that would work with the
> existing songs, and good old Doctor Steinlove has made the
> best possible musical he can for the selected material.
> Hats off.

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