Re: Is THE BOYS IN THE PHOTOGRAPH a good musical?
I'm traveled to see The Boys in the Photograph
the weekend before last and collected some of my thoughts about the show on my blog
, where I have also posted a review roundup of the new show
. In terms of the critical reaction to the show, there is less negative criticism, although none of the reviews really grapples with the quality of the show itself (as opposed to the production, which is very good). I felt that the changes, which I've discussed in a fair bit of detail in the sections on the book
and the score
in the post mentioned above, were for the better and that the show good, but not brilliant. To achieve that kind of greatness is not unthinkable, however, would only involve a great deal of work, in particular, from Ben Elton on his largely untouched lyrics and on further refining the book of the show, which really does hold the show together and is far more extensive than that of any other Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.
I would hardly describe the ending of The Beautiful Game
as downbeat. In fact, the scene with the son going off to start his round of "the game" is distinctly hopeful, given the context of the war in which the play is set. The new ending can't possibly be more "upbeat" in that regard: the war can't simply be wished away. Although the new ending is more unabashedly romantic
, it does not harms the integrity of the show at all in terms of what it communicates thematically.
On the contrary, the new title
is wordy and sentimental, limp in comparison to the original moniker, which was far more resonant in relation to each of the themes in the play – politics, love, violence – as well as referring overtly to the central presence of football in the narrative. I can't say that I think it's a change for the better, though I understand the reason for the switch.