Monday, 6 October 2014

Parody

In my bid to be more of a man-about-town, I have just returned from seeing Forbidden Broadway at the Vauderville Theatre. Nathan has just reminded me that the Vauderville is actually a theatre in which we've both performed, in slightly sadder circumstances, at the memorial concert of our dear friend Kevin. Funnily enough, one of the songs in the show tonight was a pastiche of Super Trouper, and I found myself paying particular attention to what the pianist was doing, remembering the trouble I'd had learning the song's strident bass line with my left hand. It didn't strike me until later that I was remembering playing the song at Kev's memorial in the very theatre we were sitting in.

Forbidden Broadway is a wonderful show which I would recommend to anyone who loves musical theatre. All four performers were remarkable. Insanely talented. It's one thing to sing those songs, but to simultaneously impersonate the grand divas that did them originally is something else. Christina Bianco, in particular, was belting out big chesty Idina Menzel numbers before turning her hand to coloratura arias by Bernstein with top Es and Fs.

The very fact that the theatre industry is buoyant enough again to sustain a parody show in a West End venue is very good news indeed. It's an indication of a community dusting itself off and standing proud again. I'm furthermore pleased to report that the stalls were full to the rafters, and that the audience seemed to be full of people who understood all the references and got most of the in-jokes... an indication that they'd seen the shows being pastiched.

I don't know when Forbidden Broadway was last in London, but probably not for years. The last time I saw it was in New York in about 2003. Nathan saw it Stateside in 1996 on a break from his run in Miss Saigon. He tells me he was particularly thrilled when they did a send up of that particular show. As they did tonight... Quite bitingly.

It's funny; they're mercilessly rude about the shows they feature, but, being "done" in Forbidden Broadway remains a true indication of having made it!

One day we'll see them ripping into Brass.

I saw Joe Luis Robinson for the second time in as many evenings tonight, which was lovely. That's what happens when you become a man about town. You meet other men about town. That, or he's like a number 19 bus. You wait to see him for ages...

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