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Musicals With Knobs On

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I used to hate juke box musicals, as they had begun to get so repetitive and lazy, particularly following the success of Mamma Mia! You know the score (well, of course you do, as you have the album before the show comes out in your CD collection under A for Abba) - the shoe-horned lyrics, the slim plot and the megamix at the end. But, as I have gotten older, I have grown to accept them more because now I have another bugbear - musicals whereby the cast start playing instruments!

I loved the show The Hired Man but could not take it seriously all the time, as a supporting cast member would start playing an instrument and then hold it as she was delivering her dialogue. Is it me or does it comes across like showing off? I ask because every time I see it done in a show, I am irritated.

I am reminded of this tonight as Spend Spend Spend opens at the Lowry and all the cast are going to be all singing, all dancing , all playing. As much as I admire the multi-tasking, it does often take you out of the narrative. Or does it? Am I the only who feels like this?

A recent production of Sweeney Tood featured performers armed with trumpets and trombones, as did Blonde Bombshells - I accepted it there though as it was connected to the narrative. But I even saw it in a production of James and The Giant Peach. Looking for some theatre to see on a forthcoming holiday to the States - I saw an advert for a small production of Coraline but the publicity shots put me off as everyone is armed with an instrument. It looked like one of my old music classes where you are forced to play the recorder!

So, mock me but I have settled for Shrek The Musical instead as it is touring the U.S and there seems to be no chance of the dragon playing the trombone. But if I even so much as hear Donkey or Fiona start playing the flute halfway through a scene, why I ougta...! 

Spend Spend Spend opens at the Lowry tonight and runs until Sat 16th October.

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