Dec 2, 2007


And the award for this week's least surprising piece of news goes to the closure of Desperately Seeking an Audience after one horrifying month. Who knew a mediocre Madonna film with the music of Blondie superficially grafted on top of it would be an abysmal failure? Oh wait, everybody.

Perhaps the staggering failure of this abortion of a musical will finally put an end to the West End's desperate pop-cultural barrel-scraping, pillaging music, film and television to equally shameless degrees in a hopeless scramble for audiences; dressing themselves with borrowed success and secondhand glamour. Filling our stages with trumped up tribute concerts and meaningless nostalgia-fests that are only a few thousand pounds and a stage manager away from sing-along-a-Sound of Music.

Probably not, though.

That having been said I'm by no means getting on the 'we're all doomed, captain' death-of-the-West-End bandwagon. In fact, there are some very creditable things going on. Look at The Theatre Royal Haymarket, where Edward Bond's fascinating play The Sea will be arriving at the end of January, a far braver, more exciting piece of programming than most of the Donmar's showy star-orgy at the Wyndhams. If either of those ventures is deemed enough of a success maybe there's even the giddy possibility of producers flocking to the theatre bookshop rather than HMV for their next big idea.

Like Hollywood in the early 70s
, we could be on the verge of something very exciting.

Of course there is a downside to all of this. I think that the failure of Desperately Seeking some Dignity will probably mean a very early demise for the new genre of pop music/film crossover musicals. Which is a crying shame. There's mileage there... I was looking forward to Saving Private Ryan the stage show, featuring the music of Status Quo.

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