LONDON STAGE 2019 – Two Curate’s Eggs – JUNE

by admin on July 2, 2019

It took ten years for the STARRY MESSENGER to get from Broadway to London’s West End. I saw it the night after it opened and it felt definitely tired from its long journey. Mind you, it had a lot to say on a lot of different subjects but the end result was less than the sum of its parts. There was a lacklustre, jaded feel to much of the evening.

I thought we had all learned the lesson from Jane Austin and Chekhov that it’s almost impossible to write about boring characters in an interesting way. Especially dangerous to make them leading characters and still hold our attention.

A stage play is not a novel and you can’t get away with long rambling narratives like you can with a novel. And if you insist on the lead actor playing the entire show in a flat deadpan manner the audience is going to lose interest, as  sure as eggs is eggs.

However, STARRY MESSENGER is a curate’s egg. That is to say, it’s good in parts. And there are several good parts in this overly long play to enjoy. But for me, they never amounted to a satisfying whole and I came away from it wondering why they bothered.

There is potential for a fascinating play here, with its contrasts between the universe and our place in it, which I had been hoping to experience. A missed opportunity by the American playwright, Stephen Lonergan.

The other curate’s egg was the long-running and much over-hyped musical, THE BOOK OF MORMON. I finally managed to see it when I got a relatively cheap seat this year, after refusing to pay the ridiculous prices I’d been quoted for the last two years.

The parts that were good were not as tasty as I had been led to expect. Yes, it was fun to see the Mormon cult ridiculed and some of the musical numbers were worth seeing, but the biting satire we were promised never quite materialised.

Perhaps it’s unrealistic to expect all musicals to measure up to GUYS & DOLLS or CABARET, for wit and satire and the B of M didn’t come close. I was glad I only paid for a cheap seat. Who knows, when the movie appears, I might go and see it again – but only in my local cinema.

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