The Arabian Nights-inspired piece – with a book by Charles Lederer and music and lyrics by Grand Hotel’s Robert Wright and George Forrest (after Russian composer Alexander Borodin) - follows the remarkable changes of fortune that engulf a poor poet during the course of one incredible day when Kismet (fate) takes control.
Michael Ball (pictured), Tony Award-winning Broadway star Faith Prince, Sarah Tynan and Alfie Boe lead the 130-strong company of musical theatre actors, opera singers and musicians. The production is conceived by Griffin (who also directs) in collaboration with Luther Davis and Kit Hesketh-Harvey and is designed by Ultz. Richard Hickox and Simon Lee conduct the orchestra.
First night critics deemed the decision to revive the “wincingly” dated Kismet, opening on the same day as Tony Blair’s departure from office, as a gross “miscalculation”. The musical’s faults, most felt, were “compounded by Gary Griffin’s “sparkle”-free production, with its “cheapskate” set, “boomy” amplification and “raggedly executed” dance sequences. Amongst the performances, Sarah Tynan and Alfie Boe’s singing received some praise, but really only musical stalwart Michael Ball emerged critically unscathed.
- by Terri Paddock