BLOG: One person’s trash is another person’s treasure

I say it a lot but I’ll say it again. The beauty of theatre is that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure (I’m not sure I can say ‘man’ anymore in this PC world we live in). Reviews can vary drastically for show’s, there are those who love and those who loathe the same production. For instance, I loved the Spice Girls musical Viva Forever a few years back (I saw it three times) but I was one of the few people who gave it a positive review (sometimes I am nice!).

Last week was press night of Boys In The Buff at the newly rebranded Stockwell Playhouse (formerly the LOST Theatre). I sent one of my reviewers along to cover the show but due to email issues the review didn’t come through to me until last night. I picked up the email, the moment I walked out of seeing the show myself (a bizarre coincidence). But when I read the review (read it here) I was shocked to see it had been awarded four stars and was a pretty positive review of the show. This is fine and I have published her words because everyone is entitled to their own opinion but I walked out of the theatre saying it was by far the worst show I have seen in the past year! I was struggling to give it one star in my head. So, I thought this was an interesting blog to write, to show how opinions can be very different.

My reviewer called the music and lyrics “sharp, funny and on point and the music more memorable than some recent West End shows”. I on the other hand uncomfortably laughed through most of the show because of the awful lyrics and plagiarised choreography from the musical Chicago (complete with top hats and Fossee fingers). I spent the first half of the show trying to decide if the actors were supposed to be out of time with each other or if they were just under rehearsed. Songs like ‘Does My Bum Look Big In This’ and ‘My Foreskin And Me’ should have set alarm bells ringing in my head before the show started but the lyrics within the songs sounded like they had been written by a fourteen year old adolescent.

When a man strips on stage, some people would divert their eyes, feeling a little uncomfortable to look directly at the naked body in front of them. Sadly, the naked bodies were the only thing that didn’t offend my eyes in the production and I found it uncomfortable to watch the action taking place on stage. I mostly felt sorry for the actors (surely this isn’t what they dreamed of doing when they were at drama school).

I was glad to see the other review in my inbox last night as I didn’t relish in the idea of writing a one star review but due to the parallel opposite in opinions I thought it was important to share my views as well. Roz (the writer of the actual review) is one of my longest serving reviewers and I honour her opinion 100%. However, I on the other hand, saw a primary school production of The Lion King last week that, when compared to Boys In The Buff, was an Olivier award worthy show!