Due to being ill, I’d had to postpone our outing to see Bananaman The Musical – but it ended up being the perfect first night out for 2018.
Southwark Playhouse is a great, intimate venue which was perfect for this night of cartoon-inspired tom-foolery, caricatures, great songs, live band, and generally happy atmosphere.
The songs were upbeat and easy on the ears due to some fantastic vocalists – the space was used inventively. Places where the lack of special effects could’ve fallen flat were played for laughs to great success. The choreography was great, the acting was excellent and it brought the Bananaman of my childhood afternoons back to life.
Now, I’d heard good things about it, so was very excited – always a risk, as then it’s so easy to be disappointed! So – was I disappointed?
It was fantastic. It was pink, glittery froth! It was upbeat, it was funny, it was FUN! It was entertaining, true to the original film and lyrically clever. It was a perfect remedy to a rather hectic week of work.
We had missed Sheridan Smith’s run, but Susan McFadden was absolutely fantastic. We were meant to have Denise Van Outen as Paulette, but didn’t; we were also meant to be treated to Peter Davidson, and didn’t. but it really didn’t matter – everything is so great that you really don’t need the big names! Kyle’s comedy timing was especially noteable.
The songs were fun and bouncy – I kept grimacing, waiting for the inevitable ballad, but all the way through the first half, every time it felt lke a ballad was about to come, they changed to another fun song. So, when it eventually hit halfway through the (short) second half, I didn’t really mind.
“Gay or European” was obviously my favourite – so I’ll finish off with this as a treat for you! Go and see it – it’ll brighten your day/week/month!
Now, just to get it straight, I do really like musicals. And i adore the theatre. It doesn’t matter how often I go tot he theatre, i love the thrill of excitement before it starts – the sudden hush as the curtan goes up etc etc. I’m a Londoner, and have access to a wide array of different theatres with so many different types of shows that I could probably go every week and never get bored with it (although I would be VERY skint!)
So, when I asked The Girl what she wanted for ‘home-coming’ (no Christmas for us, remember!) she said that she wanted to go to see Oliver! My heart sank. Not just that it would be SO expensive, but because I can’t stand things with too many kids in – and I really can’t stand the film of Oliver! And there was no way that The Man was going to take her, so it would be just me, listening to some whiny boy screeching at us asking where love is.
Which is exactly what it was.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there were koads of things I did like about it. The sets were fantastic, Griff Rhys Jones was a pretty good Fagin (although I’m pretty gutted that I only missed Omid Djalili by a couple of weeks), Nancy was brilliant, Bill Sikes was brilliantly gruff and manly (apparently the actor was in Press Gang!), the costumes were fantastic, and I did get goosebumps on some of the ensemble bits where the whole cast were singing (I’ve got a real thing about choirs etc)…but generally I wanted to slap all the kids, block my ears to the awful put-on accents and stab Oliver in the eye when his thin reedy voice popped up asking who would buy this wonderful morning.
Argh!!!! My ears are bleeding!!
Anyway – the main thing was that The Girl loved every minute of it and sang along to the songs that she knew best.
Oh yes, and the only way I could afford it was by going right up in the balcony – oh my GOD that was high up. That was quite scary really – I’m not very scared of heights, but I did experience a bit of vertigo when we were walking down to our seats. And really £27 each to be right up there?? I haven’t paid that kind of price for theatre tickets for years and years and I was quite shocked. I guess I go to more ‘B or C-rate shows’ than the big West End spectaculars – but obviously find them FAR more entertaining, for half the price!