I just don’t understand why people don’t like musical theatre. OK. I’ll rephrase that; I don’t understand why people who enjoy theatre, music and films don’t like musical theatre. Ok, I don’t understand why people who enjoy all of the above and like any sort of non-naturalistic theatre don’t enjoy the odd musical every now and then.

I’m not being biased but yes, I do have a certain nostalgia attached to musicals as I remember watching a Little Princess at the age of 8 and wondering when they were going to start singing. But I grew up, I realized that musicals were not cool and that straight theatre such as Shakespeare and Chekov were far more serious a field to play in. I mean, I get that, I’ve been to Pineapple Dance Studios, I know there’s a massive difference. But there’s also a massive difference between a dancer wearing next to nothing black and pink Lycra, caked in makeup including false lashes and gymnast hair and, for instance, Kerry Ellis.

Musicals are just another form of theatre. When people say ‘I don’t get why they just randomly break into song, it’s not naturalistic’, they are forgetting that a lot of theatre is not naturalistic, dance, physical theatre, addressing the audience, circus. Think about Beckett, Brecht, Complicite, the first series of Sex in the City

…she would have just thought about it and cried whilst they chopped her hair off…

The sound of musicAnd then lets think about story lines, for instance, I’m pretty sure that in real life Fantine would not have sung about the dream she dreamed, she would have just thought about it and cried whilst they chopped her hair off, the song was just artistic license taken by Claude-Michel Schönbergin order to convey the seriousness of the situation, but then again, I’m pretty sure that a lot of the stunts in Batman were quite unlikely to happen as well, and in fact that Batman was very unlikely to happen.

Oh yeah, and what’s this with everyone who hates musicals still liking The Sound of Music? A lot of the excuses people give is that musicals are too cheesy, but The Sound of Music is the cheesiest movie ever made! Julie Andrews on the top of a mountain singing her heart out about birds that fly and whiskers on kittens, she couldn’t be happier. What’s not cheesy about that? And everyone loves that film! Julie Andrews, you are my hero. (Probably the one chance I’ll ever have to say that where she might see it)

…mourning and Nazi’s…

Other excuses I’ve been given is that the story lines are too black and white. To that I respond, no, that’s a standard characteristic of pantomime not musicals, to that they respond that it happens in every musical as well. To that my response is look at the most widely viewed musicals: The Sound of Music’s main themes are mourning and Nazi’s, the bad guy turns out to be good (Captain Von Trap) and a poor innocent boy goes bad (poor Ralf), then there’s Les Miserables, Oliver!, Wicked, Blood Brothers, Billy Elliot, My Fair Lady or Cabaret. Yes, Shrek and Legally Blonde are very black and white, but it’s not like the movies were dark and political tales of oppressed stereotypes (Ogre and Bimbo) in the first place.

Then they say ‘Well I just don’t know enough about musicals to judge them’ So don’t judge them then.

…see something spectacular…

I for one look forward to a grand old trip down to the West End to see something spectacular. If there is anything I feel the need to slate about musical theatre I’d say it was the fact that it’s so commercial, and the aim is to make money, when the aim should be to make the best show possible, but of course all the big bucks parts of the industry are guilty of that to some degree.

Oh and everyone’s really exited about the Book of Mormon because it’s been validated by Matt and Trey, makers of South Park. What if it’s rubbish? What if they randomly break into song and the characters are too black and white? What if it’s painfully cheesy?

Let the Book of Mormon be a lesson to us all. Face up to what’s going on. Musicals are cool; deal with it.

 

 

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