On Wednesday 22nd March I went to see a school production of The Wiz. This is a retelling of the story of the wizard of Oz, but done with ostensibly black music. The movie of this musical had Diana Ross and Michael Jackson in it. It's motown-style funky 70's sort of a thing. I don't know the exact name of the style, but you're getting the idea.
Perhaps one question is why I went to see a school play. Have I tired of the production values of the West End and decided to go minimalist? Or maybe my girlfriend's sister is a teacher and had helped with the costumes. I'll let you guess.
Given that I've seen a lot of musicals, have performed in a few, and am generally quite opinionated on what makes a good performance/show/experience, I think a few people in the group of us who went were a bit worried about what I'd make of it all. Unfortunately, I can be judgemental in a way which seems harsh and unfair. However, I'm not a monster (really, I'm not) and I know that a school play is hardly going to be Les Miserables... unless they're doing the Les Miserables schools edition, which they weren't.
Anyway, the evening was spent quite enjoyably. A few highlights:
- The headset microphones some of the cast were wearing, which made them look like they were working in a call centre while not on stage.
- The performance of the scarecrow - a lad who is an definite natural and held the room in rapture
- The band - the music teacher and three lads, who played very well and had a great rapport between them
- Some witty choreography
- The little kid who did everything in an adorable way
- The little kid who looked bewildered and out of time with the steps in the big numbers - every school play needs one
- Next time, pick a leading lady who can sing...
- ...and act
- ...and not be so fat
- Tell some members of the cast the following - "You're a white schoolkid from Reading. You are NOT Maria Carey, and American Accents Don't Have To Sound Black
- Trying to sell a DVD of the performance breaks more copyright laws than are worth it
Mind you, if a school ever decided to put on The Phantom Of The Opera I'd definitely go along and see it!