Everyone has an opinion on new Musical Theatre. Whether it be the now familiar lament of another adaptation of a film being brought to the stage, or the fact it’s oh so new that audiences are not willing to translate curiosity in to purchasing tickets. As an observation these two seem the most widely voiced views..and both are negative. The ravaging of the ‘Juke Box’ Musical is also a bemoaned topic too that I won’t go ahead and bore you with! There are on the contrary, many exciting things to be shouted from the rooftops (perhaps with a megaphone), that new musical is doing incredibly right. An example of this would be The White Feather, an original new Musical currently at The Union Theatre.
With music that oozes class, consideration and authenticity, you have a foundation for something pretty special. This is what Ross Clark’s score provides in large amounts with The White Feather. The haunting quality of the music is superbly complimented by the masterful direction of Andrew Keates, who brings the production to life.
Compared to the recent Dusty The Musical which was a tribute to an icon with no real grasp of creating a new light on Dusty Springfield, (relying on musical video footage rather than characterisation due to an uninspired script), The White Feather is a breath of crisp fresh air. Being an absolute original work with book by Ross Clark makes the world of difference, especially when about such a sensitive subject as World War I.
The upcoming From Page to Stage festival of new Musical Theatre works at Tristan Bates Theatre, promises to be a showcase of the upcoming creatives and performers of the genre. Produced by Aria Entertainment, this showcase celebrates new writing in all it’s glory, with a number of new musicals, all ranging in different styles and genres.
There is a lot of expectation and good will to succeed with new shows. Audiences want to see something that moves them, makes them laugh or cry. No one intentionally wants to buy a ticket to something that doesn’t click with an audience, everyone goes to see a new show in good faith. Of course there is a morbid curiousity sometimes, when a negative review is bad, but this is just a very small minority.
Celebrating the good of new Musical Theatre should be a priority, as well as highlighting the early closures or churning out the same reasons continuously why a production hasn’t worked. There is a wealth of creative talent out there, that as a performer and reviewer ignites a fire within.