Sunset Boulevard by Don Black/Christopher Hampton/Andrew Lloyd Webber – The Lyric, Theatre Royal Plymouth
I don’t think I like musicals. Or at least, I don’t think I like more traditional musicals like this one. The kitsch and the camp of Rocky Horror, Hairspray and Little Shop of Horrors all appealed to me in the film versions so they seem like something I might like onstage (and did like in the case of Hairspray). I really didn’t engage with this show though. I found myself drifting into day dreams and not paying attention for quite long sections, which of course meant that I wasn’t following/understanding the plot. It just couldn’t seem to hold my attention. I think part of me not enjoying it stems from not being as keen on the style of music used. There was also slight issues with the backing music being louder than the vocals at some points. All the action happens through songs, there’s little to no dialogue so being unable to hear a few sung lines here and there has quite a big impact. The plot of the show sounded right up my street so I thought I’d enjoy this more than I did. I’ll have to get my hands on a copy of the film instead I think!
I’d like to add a disclaimer that me sort of hating this show is not a reflection of the show itself. Quite a few people who saw it commented on what a quality piece it was and had nothing but praise for it. The performances seemed strong (Danny Mac won awards for his portrayal of Joe Gillis) and the vocals were impressive. The set was gorgeous too. I think it’s more a case of it just not being to my tastes. It is a weird experience knowing I really didn’t enjoy something but being essentially unable to explain why.
I’ll continue seeing musicals that come to TRP though, I think it’s important that I keep an open mind and it’s good to see as much as I possibly can.