Album Review: Big the Musical (2016 Original UK Cast Recording)

“When we must cross over
Who knows what we’ll find”

A 90s musical of an 80s film – nostalgia has a lot to answer for but it was to Maltby Jr and Shires’ 1996 adaptation of the Tom Hanks-starring film that producers turned for their big Christmas musical at Bord Gais Energy Theatre in Dublin. Morgan Young’s production also had a short run at the Theatre Royal Plymouth and with the creation of this UK cast recording, you wonder whether further plans were in the pipeline for the show.

I’m not holding my breath though, as it doesn’t really sound like that much of a winner. Shire’s score is painfully dated, Maltby’s lyrics provide little spark and as a whole, Big the Musical just sounds a bit twee, a bit inconsequential. There’s little sense at all of the songs driving the narrative, they’re more an inoffensive, intermittent distraction, taking way too long to inch over to even just to ‘pleasant’ on the scale. Continue reading “Album Review: Big the Musical (2016 Original UK Cast Recording)”

Review: Medea, Gate Theatre

“Love makes you do the strangest things, sometimes”

Won’t somebody think of the children? In fact, that’s exactly what’s writer/director Anne-Louise Sarks and co-writer Kate Mulvany have done with their version of Medea, first seen at the Belvoir, Sydney a couple of years ago. Their spin – and a spin is needed here in London, given that Rachel Cusk’s adaptation of the play has only just closed at the Almeida – is to retell Euripides’ tragedy through the eyes of Medea’s two sons.

It’s an innovative approach and one that pays great dividends in Sarks’ production. Played out in real time at just over an hour, we first meet Leon and Jasper as their mother locks them in their bedroom before going downstairs to argue with their father. To pass the time, they bicker and play games, ominously focused on death and violence, and tiptoe delicately around their limited understanding of the strangeness of their situation. Continue reading “Review: Medea, Gate Theatre”