Less Miserable (Gilbert and Sullivan’s Improbably New Musical)

The Coily Dart Theatre Company
the Space @ Niddry Street – until August 10th
2 Stars (2 / 5)

Gilbert and Sullivan look upon the Earth from Heaven and decide on a wager. Gilbert will re-set the longest running musical, Les Miserables, to their own songs and music.

This is a very infuriating performance. There is so much intelligence in the writing, but the dramatic performances are overblown and the chorus pieces sadly mediocre. Granted, the music is not easy to play, but the accompanist makes a frightful number of glaringly obvious errors at the piano, her right hand not keeping up with the flourishes and playing runs out of time. The best musical performances are often the a capella trios with impressive counterpoint – very well liked. Often well known songs are alluded to and get a laugh, but they are not sung – leaving the audience with a wet appetite. The writer obviously gave favour to less popular tunes to make the plot work, but the audience is gasping to hear their favourites too.

The project is not a lost cause. More fine-tuning and it may yet reach its potential.