27th September 2012

Why I Love / Why I Hate

Helen McCarthy tells us her likes and loathes of theatre

Why I Love: Alan Bennett


Without doubt the master of comedy on the stage. From The History Boys to Habeas Corpus, he can make even the printed words in the hard copy hilarious, never mind the on-stage action. And thanks to his collaborations with Nicholas Hytner of the National Theatre, the adaptations to the big screen are just as satisfying. There is literally nothing I would rather do than sit and listen to his flat Yorkshire tones in an interview, never mind sit in a plush red seat and watch his characters knock the theatre dead. His one-liners are on a par with Woody Allen’s, but rather than the ‘neurotic Jew in therapy’ stereotype that Allen has down to a gilded T, we get the Yorkshireman turned Oxford graduate and it is so very addictive.


Why I Hate: Wicked

Hate is a little bit strong, but my brief is ‘love and hate’ not ‘I don’t mind it’ or ‘it’s a bit crap’. In all honesty, I just think that Wicked is ‘a bit crap’. I’m a hardcore musical lover, but I much prefer the classics like West Side Story and Chicago and Cabaret. I like seedy, dark undertones, not a woman with a green face being paraded around as ‘hideous’ when in fact she’s one of the most radiant people I’ve ever seen on stage, she just happens to look like Kermit the Frog. The plot is clunky, the score is instantly forgettable (despite the fact that I re-listened to it on Spotify in an attempt to give it a chance) and it left me stone cold. What makes it worse is the fact that The Wizard of Oz is such a famous and wonderful film, plus it has Judy Garland at its helm. What moron decided that this was a good platform to bounce another musical off? I don’t care that Idina Menzel has a jaw-dropping voice, she can bow down at the mere thought of Judy.

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