Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Musical theatre: The Beautiful Game (★★½)

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Book and lyrics by Ben Elton
Director and choreographer Meryl Tankard
Musical director David King
Set and costume designer Sallyanne Facer
Performed by WAAPA 3rd Year Music Theatre students
Roundhouse Theatre, WAAPA
August 20 – 27, 2016

The Beautiful Game is a musical about the lives of the players in a Catholic soccer team, and their friends, during the deadliest period of The Troubles in Northern Ireland.
In 2000, when Andrew Lloyd Webber and Ben Elton premiered the work, no one could be sure that Ireland’s sectarian violence had finally ended. Lloyd Webber has compared The Beautiful Game to South Pacific, which premiered only four years after WWII and was controversial for the issues it raised so close to the events on which it was based.
At the time, The Beautiful Game must have seemed just as topical and confronting.
Unfortunately, that’s the only real similarity between the two musicals. For all its sincerity and earnestness, The Beautiful Game feels like a rushed side project for two successful and very busy writers.
Meryl Tankard, who choreographed The Beautiful Game’s original West End season, returns to it as director. Her participation, supported by the Jackman Furness Foundation, is one of the visits to WAAPA by internationally recognised creative artists that undoubtedly enrich its students’ learning.
On this occasion – unusually for WAAPA – the same isn’t entirely true of the audience’s experience.

Read the complete review in The West Australian

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