To quote Forbidden Broadway itself: ‘everyone thinks they’re a critic’, myself in particular.
Whilst I am a massive musical theatre nut, I absolutely love finding flaws in shows that I can laugh at. This doesn’t mean I don’t love the show, it just means I also love finding its limitations and mocking them. Kind of like when you’re mean to your best friend. I consequently garnered the idea that Forbidden Broadway should just be renamed ‘Lucy, You Will Bloody Adore This’, and was beyond excited when I finally got my hands on tickets.
I have to say that I may have set my bar a tad too high, and didn’t quite enjoy it as much as I was convinced I would. This is in no way an insult to the show, I think I perhaps expected too much. I thought I would fall in love with it, and instead I am teetering on the edge of love. So basically, I still thought it was fabulous and highly amusing.
The large majority of the sketches really hit the mark. What Forbidden Broadway is really great at is mixing the obvious jokes (funny even though you see them coming) and easy targets (jukebox musicals, over commercialisation, Disney), with really specific references and witty humour. For me, the specific references were the best part, however these perhaps would fall flat with the everyday person who is not as into their musical theatre. My personal highlights were the Les Miserables parody (particularly the mocking of the infamous turntable), the Miss Saigon section (the helicopter gag was obvious but delightful), the shaming of Jersey Boys, and the skits on Cameron Mackintosh and child actors. Overall I feel that the first act way out shone the second, and as the show progressed there were a few bits that, I felt, did not work. I didn’t overly enjoy The Book of Moron (as they called it), although a lot of audience seemed to love it. I thought it proved that you just can’t spoof a spoof.
The Forbidden Broadway cast are superb. Four people, with as much talent as anyone in the shows they are parodying, play lord knows how many different parts with excellent vocals and comic precision. Before seeing the show I heard a lot of praise for Anna-Jane Casey, which is well deserved, but for me the absolute star of the show was YouTube sensation Christina Bianco. Her Bernadette Peters and Kristin Chenoweth impersonations are particularly flawless.
On the whole I had a really great night, and I laughed a lot. I would perhaps warn people that this is a show for those who like musicals, and if you don’t know your Phantoms from your Fantasticks a lot of jokes may be lost on you. But lovers of theatre are in for a treat, and I’d definitely give it a solid four stars.
By Lucy Bradford
Forbidden Broadway at the Vaudeville Theatre is showing for a strictly limited run, booking until 22 November, 2014. Don't miss your chance to see it, book your Forbidden Broadway tickets now!
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