My friend and I went to see this production at the Charing Cross Theatre. What can I say - it's a delight for the homosexual audience (who were in the majority) and it's just about average for the hetrosexual audience. Some funny bits with a lot of tackle being flung about! - A nonymous
11 Oct 11
Just to clarify: In the New York production the cast are naked from the first moment - which believe me gets stale pretty quickly (That was one of the reasons why the first UK production at Madame JoJo's bored critics and audiences and closed almost immediately) By contrast in the current and successful London production, now in it's fourth season, you have a chance to get to know the boys a little as you watch them audition and prepare for the naked finale. Don't worry you still get plenty of nudity but it's sexier in this version because there's been a build up to it and getting to know them clothed means their nakedness means more. The casting of the London production is top notch with terrific and sexy performers who sing and dance to a very high standard. This new approach received a four star review from Time Out and is the West Ends most successful late night cabaret. - NBS
12 Mar 11
Saw the show a the Arts Theatre. Waiting so long for the 'show' was really tedious. Took away the interest in the songs and the performances of the individuals involved. Also a pain to think that the audiences in New York had such a better presentation. Even what was on show I found 'unexceptional'! - Noel
14 May 10
What absolute ROT the synopsis writer and reviewer is talking!!..
I went to see this show in 2000 (maybe 01) at the Raymond Revue Bar in Soho, London and I'll grant you they had their clothes off for the entire performance, but there can be NO disparaging remarks made about the songs or their content. As a case in point, the song entitled "Jack's Song" (which the reviewer calls "I beat My Meat incorrectly) is a tong in cheek thought provoking but naughty song aimed to make us think that they are talking about masturbation BUT, if the reviewer had listened properly they would have realised it is actually about the serving of steak (the singer is wearing an apron and a chefs hat during the song, so it should give the game away really!)
It is my assertion that hte "critic" that went to see this show should have a Humour transplant, because he certainly seems to have lost his completely. In fact, one would have to question his integrity as a critic at all if he couldn't even read the above situation as an insighful look at what filty minds we have individually, given that everything that they sing can be seen in either the sexual or the culinary format. Quote from the song:" Pardon us for moralising/ but our favourite form of excercising/is socially correct as well as appetising/'Cos who would serve a steak in need of tenderising/ So.. I Beat My Meat..."
This is the funniest night I have ever been to and if you're expecting High-Brow entertainment, then don't bother going. If, on the other hand, you are a happy, humourous person without any pre-conceptions of what will happen and are just out for a great night's entertainment, then this is the show for you. I bought the CD after the show and am listeng to it now - it's so catchy!! Enjoy! - Phil Hodgson
29 Jan 10
Rubbish, sorry not funny or well sung and once their kit is off the show does not know where to go, plus way too Gay, even for Gays!
Avoid. - jamie
23 Jul 09
The show is the right length and is fitfully amusing with one or two cute fella's. What lets it down is the quality of the lyrics. A lot of the songs just aint that funny. I agree with the WOS review. I got my ticket free via the WOS theatre club, but if I had paid full whack I would have felt short changed-both at the shows length and the poor quality of the songs. - Richard
19 Jul 09
I saw this show both at the Kings Head and on the first preview when I took a friend of mine who hadn't seen it. True the production was beset with a few technical hitches but being their first night in a theatre anyone would forgive them this.
I think the show is great. Of course if you are expecting high-brow, life changing stuff you have come to the wrong theatre and if you come and still are still not convinced by the wit and sparkle of these boys then you at least can't blame the show's producers for false advertising - Naked Boys Singing does exactly what it says on the tin.
What really is a shame about the review from the transfer is that the writer clearly doesn't understand that the show does not take itself seriously. No-one is claiming that the writing is Sondheim, it has it's tongue firmly rammed in it's cheek. Also not once have the cast's efforts been mentioned. What these boys do with this show is extraordinary and they are each given an opportunity for the audience to fall in love with them before the big 'reveal', a challenge which they all rise to with great energy and charm. A true star cast these boys will go (and have been) far.
Have some drinks. Wipe your credit crunch frown off of your face, take a seat and enjoy some good comedy and some true talent! (no pun intended...I'm straight!) - Tobias
10 Jul 09
Richard's suggestion (May 26) has been heeded, and for a mere pound you can read conventional background blurbs about the seven talented, professionally trained actors brave enough to 'pull off' this unconventional, fun show. - USA Bart
03 Jul 09
Despite some sexually frank lyrics and full frontal nudity, there's something rather old fashioned and conservative about this reviw. It takes three-quarters of its short 60-min length before you get what it says on the can, but along the way there are some good (though formulaic) songs well sung. A fun hour, but don't expect anything in any way ground-breaking. - GarGar
22 Jun 09
Interesting posts! There seem to be two camps here. After seeing the show for myself, I'm more or less on the side of the critics. I think this is a talented cast in a misguided production.
For me, the genius thing about this show as it's been done everywhere else was that it was able to have its cake and eat it. On the one hand it was gently satirising a whole genre of gay theatre that used male nudity to draw in the punters, and on the other hand it managed to cram in more cock than any of the shows it was satirising. Then, in a final twist, by making the nudity so ubiquitous, it actually deflates the genre as satire should, by effectively normalising the nudity and making it less exploitative. This may be over the head of Mr Wilmott and his chums. Or maybe they have a sophisticated counter-argument that they have ditched in favour of "lighten up" and "hey, it's rubbish anyway, so who cares?". If Betty Buckley, Bernadette Peters and Harvey Fierstein, among many others, liked it as it was, I'd like to hear better arguments than that for Mr Wilmott's re-think.
I don't think any of the production's critics are saying this is Chekhov, but if the director decides to radically alter the show, he and his advocates need to stop being such babies about people disagreeing with choices none of them seem able to defend.
15 Jun 09
I mean, really. Get over yourselves. It's just a bit a fun froth without a serious message. If the point is to 'celebrate' male nudity in all its forms (and I don't believe for one minute it was at the forefront of the creators' minds) then the material really should be a lot better. As it is, this is a middling show made vastly enjoyable by the talented cast and direction. Trying to look deeply into it is, pardon the pun, fruitless. - Stephen Thompson
06 Jun 09
- alan acorn
01 Jun 09
I agree with Chris and Barnsbury below. For me there was a fundamental contradiction at the heart of this production: is it meant to be more exploitative than the original, or less? The performances were great, but I think the director lacks the bravery of the guys on stage.
Presumably the director thought he was taking a more 'sophisticated' approach, when in fact he was just being bourgeois and small-minded. I think his decision to keep everybody nicely wrapped up for most of the show betrays the same confusion shown by Sepha below: is this show about challenging our perceptions of nudity in a repressive culture, or is it about exploiting that repressiveness so that showing some cock after an hour-long build-up can give a cheap thrill? Judging by this production, Mr Wilmot clearly thinks it's the latter.
I thought there was also something rather tawdry about riding on the reputation of the US productions in the publicity when this is such a radically different show offering a much less accurate reflection of the title. Perhaps Mr Wilmot was too focused on putting bums on seats, and not enough on putting bums on stage... - Writertype
31 May 09
Sadly, this was something of a disappointment. (the performers were great, music, too)
and though no doubt well-intentioned, delaying "what it says on the tin" towards the end of the show betrays the original purpose of the show, as I understand it.
Barnsbury (below) has got it exactly right and expresses it very well.
Indeed, Sepha's comment unwittingly, confirms it.
Sepha found it "much more fun waiting for the boys to go naked.."
She/he says the production "creates tension" , and some of the audience "starts giggling" "which distracts from".....
As it will, always, for some minutes when the audience gets used to the guys being naked...
Then, of course, the giggling tendency stops...and people really listen and enjoy the show as originally conceived.
Because they HAVE TO. You can't continue to giggle ten minutes after the performers have stripped off. Then, you have to appreciate (or ignore) them as skillful performers (not naked strippers) doing their best, singing and dancing for you.
I saw the Madam Jojo's show and then various NYC shows..and my conclusion is: if you want the titillation to stop and appreciation of the "philosophy" behind the show (and the witty and poignant numbers to take over), and people to really listen, then, please, get the
titillation over right at the start.
If you are about "creating tension" in this revealing situation then this production does it.
But I don't think this is what The King's Head is about.
I think the KHT is about making the audience think, be challenged, having fun, being a bit disturbed thinking "how would it be if my friend Adam was up there on the stage"
So, I conclude, I would like the director to reconsider the setting up of his premise.. "actors are auditioning..."
and get straight on with it..as originally conceived
and face The KHT audience with not titillation but
challenge. Titillation is easy.
The idea of presenting an audience a challenge about nudity is quite different..
IT could challenge themselves about nakedness, etc..
Anyone can set up strippers these days
Asking people to think about their ideas about bodies (and their bodies) is different..
WHY NOT HAVE A NBS PERFORMANCE AT THE THEATRE WHERE ALL THE AUDIENCE IS NAKED.
no difference there..
GREAT PERFORMERS..i enjoyed your singing and dancing, best I've seen...
Good for you and KHT for putting on this show..
So..I am suggesting a rethink..Phil and the KHT
this is just the first week...
Make a few adjustments, ...
congratulations for your persistence in bringing this show back to london...
I THINK THIS SHOW COULD BE A LONG-RUNNING
but please get the giggling over in the first few minutes..
Of course I shall come again with friends, hoping for a somewhat change in the show
CHRIS - CHRIS PARKIN
31 May 09
Disagree with previous comment...much more fun waiting for the boys to go naked.....creates tension, and after all, when you've had a look, it doesn't take long to start giggling at all those willies bouncing around, which distracts from the very witty and sometimes poignant songs. Great singing too - Sepha
30 May 09
Guy, Guys, Guys… three and a half out of five. This is a perky little show, with lots of perky little peckers on display. Some great little songs – ‘I’m a perky little porn star from Poughkeepsie’… - some not so great, but all in all a very enjoyable, and very gay hour, just about.
But guys…get on to your agents. You’d have got four out of five if we could have found out who you were, and who the creatives were. It’s shameful that The Kings Head had no programmes available after you’d all been working your little arses off. I popped back into the auditorium after the show and discovered that the cast was English, as was the MD. You’d never have guessed, as the accents were faultlessly ‘American’. The show could have done with a little anglicising. I couldn’t have been the only person not to know the meaning of the word ‘bris’ could I?
Anyway, cute guys, some great dancing, and well, lets be honest, it does what it says on the tin. Naked Boys Singing about sums it up.
- Richard Voyce
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