I don’t normally do reviews – who needs to burn bridges and hurt feelings? – but in this case brutality is the kindest thing… The UK touring production of Seven Brides For Seven Brothers is so absolutely awful it could be outdone by sing-a-long version in a canteen in Butlins.
The lead male (Sam Attwater) is sweet and good-looking but can’t sing and can’t act and can’t dance, and half way through started to sing in squeaky cockney.
The female lead (Helena Blackman) has the charisma of a dead fish. And can’t act. And can’t dance. But can sing in that precise prissy way that’s really only suitable for a below par Julie Andrews impersonator.
The best girl in the cast sounded like one of Alvin and the Chipmunks.
The best boy in the cast sounded like the kind of generic Broadway clone we’ve been plagued with since at least the time of Rent. He hits the notes but there’s not one iota of personality, or real emotion.
The diction was dire. We needed surtitles.
The set was clearly stolen from an amateur group just outside of Blackpool. The mountains were represented by a couple of plastic flowers glued on to painted driftwood and the avalanche was portrayed by the lining of your Gran’s lounge curtains making their stage debut.
Bits of set kept swinging in and out of the wings like the scythe from The Pit and the Pendulum crossed with a toboggan.
One useless assistant stage manager let his hand stick out so often it should have been allowed to take its own bow.
The choreography stank.
A ‘pure dirty’ bit was added for no justifiable artistic reason unless the director (Patti Colombo – hopefully by Skype) was trying to clarify that she has no taste or ideas, and the desperate cast were frantically auditioning for The Dreamboys.
The new songs were dull.
IT HAD NO RAISING THE BARN SCENE!!!
People so Presbyterian they’d be worried about marrying into another denomination were crossing themselves like refugee nuns from The Sound of music which I took to be a sign that no one could be arsed to do any research and the book was printed off the internet at the dress rehearsal.
The chorus got louder cheers than the leads – because in a direct reversal of the old way of things – the leads are now the least talented performers cast solely for having the most minor tabloid fame.
The orchestra was good.
Drunks and my mother were happy as larry – but if standards like this are allowed to pass for professional, like water dripping on rock, the commercial theatre will melt away like The Music Hall.
With regret – we must draw the line.