Sunday, 23 March 2014

I Can't Sing!: Musical Theatre Review



The London Palladium hosts the world premiere of I Can’t Sing!, the new musical written by Harry Hill. The musical pokes fun at the reality TV show, the X Factor, however this show is more F Factor than X Factor.
Chenice and her grandpa live in a caravan below a fly over and eat the road kill they catch, after picking up Chenices post off the floor Max, a plumber, volunteers to fix her boiler. After her grandpa dying and her house being reposed Max pushes her to enter the X Factor. Believe it or not they manage to spread this story over the course of the whole first act. In the second act we see the live finals of the X Factor and the drama unravels as Simon and Jordy (Cheryl Cole… clearly refused to let them use her name. And I don’t blame her) split Max and Chenice up. After Max wins back Chenices heart the winner is announced and an ‘interesting’ twist shakes up the ending. 
I’ll start by saying this isn’t actually as bad as you’d think, it has some good songs and some of the gags go down well. However when you have a gag every 10 seconds it starts to get old after the first 15 minutes. The show is Viva Forever with a bigger budget. 

It could be cut in half if all the unnecessary stuff gets dumped; the huge mouth with the fly, The Hunchback, Tesda Brenda’s song, Fabulous, The gay Producer, Liam O’ Deary’s hug song and the Aileen are all examples of things that are just not needed. I was actually quite disappointed in the untidiness of this show. The reason why these things have workshops before heading into theatres is so all the crap gets filtered out but somehow it all made its way through.
The music is good, I can’t say its the best score in the West End but at times it reminded me of Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Steve Brown (with additional lyrics by Harry Hill) has really done a good job with the show; quite a few catchy tunes in there. The book by Harry Hill is not very good, a few funny moments in there but mostly its baffling and ridiculous. The jokes are dated and require you to know quite a fair bit about the X Factor, the show will make no sense to tourists and people who aren’t massive fans of the show. Also, did no one think that the target audience are the people who sit in on a saturday night and watch the X Factor? Meaning that the chances they’d go out and spend £65 a ticket to see this show is quite low? Just a thought. 
The set (which has caused so many problems in the previews, cancelling the second act on my first trip to see the show) is pretty dire in the first act. It just felt all over the place and not like a musical at all. Far too much going on that it just felt like a shambles however the second act was better. The way the dressing rooms changes and moved was really nicely designed, that was quite impressive. I just wish they’d found a way to work the same thing into the first act. However the massive flower that was clearly meant to resemble a penis was ridiculous and completely unnecessary. 
Nigel Harman was brilliant, he portrayed Simon perfectly and brought so much humour to him; picking out his funniest characteristics. However he did look a little uncomfortable playing the ending (and I don’t blame him). Cynthia Erivo brought cheese to her back story and her starring moment was definitely the title song, I Can’t Sing. Her lungs of steel filled the Palladium. 
Alan Morrissey was really cute in the role of Max, although at points it felt like his character was kinda pointless he played it really genuinely which was lovely, his relationship with Chenice was sweet as well, one of my favourite moments in the show was their song ‘Missing you already’. Simon Bailey played Liam O’Deary and adopted Dermot O’Leary’s characteristics incredibly, he’s paid so much attention to the small details and gets so many laughs from the audience, more so than any of the gags written by Harry Hill. However the character needs more of a story by the end he's actually only done a good impression rather than portray a character.  Katy Secombe was great as Brenda, the character suited her so well. I’m not so sure that the character itself needed the solo number or that much attention paid to her but Katy has been perfectly cast and made me love the character! 
The stand outs for me are Victoria Elliot as Jordy and Simon Lipkin as Barlow. I personally thought Victoria Elliot was the funniest thing in the entire thing, her comic timing was spot on and the same can be said for Simon Lipkin. Although I wasn’t so sure of the importance of the dog Barlow in the story but he was hilarious and without him the production would have been a lot more dull. 
Huge credit to the ensemble who all were fantastic, the stand outs for me were Scarlette Douglas and Philippa Stefani who, in the group numbers, caught my eye the most. 
Overall the show is ok, its not the best and it should not be in the London Palladium. But it is not the worst thing in the world. Make sure you have a few (lots) of drinks before and during and I'm sure you’ll be fine.

Rating: **

I Can’t Sing! plays at the London Palladium


Cast Includes: Nigel Harman, Cynthia Erivo, Alan Morrissey, Ashley Knight, Victoria Elliot, Simon Bailey, Billy Carter, Simon Lipkin, Joe Speare, Katy Secombe, Charlie Baker, Delroy Atkinson, Rowen Hawkins, Joseph Prouse, Steven Serlin, Shaun Smith, Alex Young, Luke Baker, Adam J Bernard, Jenna Boyd, Cyrus Brandon, Gabrielle Brooks, Scarlette Douglas, Kelly Ewins-Prouse, Scott Garnham, Cherelle Jay, Faisal Khodabukus, Brian McCann, Jaye Marshall, Max Parker, Kirstie Skivington, Philippa Stefani, Gary Trainor, Finlay Banks, Noah Key, Macready Massey and Milo Panni. 



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