Road Show (Menier Chocolate Factory)

Posted on July 7, 2011


It’s not often you get drawn out by the words ‘new’ and ‘Sondheim’ – well it’s enough to make a girl moist with anticipation. So while ‘Road Show‘ isn’t new new, it is having it’s European première at the Chocolate Factory.

I didn’t know anything about the show really before I saw it, which is very refreshing these days, but I did know it’s had more names than I’ve had trips to the clinic. ‘Bounce’, ‘Gold’, ‘Wise Guys’ – pick one you like really.

So my first though as  _______ sat in our seats (much better than last time I was the Chocolate Factory) I was impressed by the re-arranged seating and the visceral set & props that were scattered around the room.

Performing in the traverse is never easy (believe me I KNOW)”

A bed in the centre certainly got my hopes up for some artistic fucking, but that wasn’t to be the case.

When the band started playing, it took every ounce of my pelvic fortitude to stop myself from singing a songs from ‘Assassins‘ (the chords are identical to “Everybody’s got the right to be… happy.”).

The cast rushed in and we were off – and what an unusual ride this was.

Performing in the traverse is never easy (believe me I KNOW), so congrats to the cast for doing well with it, but it did cause some problems. For one, a great big fucking pillar obscured my view of some scenes. If you’re going to go – don’t buy tickets with double lettering (I was in EE) if you can avoid it.

I loved Michael Jibson‘s performance which was flawless, and his lover (Jon Robyns, my favourite Princeton from ‘Avenue Q’) was equally charming and beautifully, well, dim. I wasn’t so keen on David Badella, who I thought didn’t have the requisite charm to play Wilson. The ensemble were fantastic.

_______ was not so keen on the device of having the cast constantly throwing cash into the air, but then I loved it – not only did it drive home the themes, it was also fun being showered in cold, hard, for entertainment purposes only, cash.

The show has some great tunes as well, a few numbers to sing in your head while your lover is fumbling around down there after the show. ‘The Game’ was especially appropriate.

In the end however, like so many evenings of mine, there was no real climax. Even a post-coital post-mortem number is fun, but not quite earned. This is not Sondheim’s greatest work, but it is interesting and entertaining.

Rating: With no interval, this is literally a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am affair.

Posted in: Musical