Monday, 26 October 2015

'Xanadu' at Southwark Playhouse

GO AND SEE IT NOW! There, you have the key message from this blog right up front. It's only on for a few weeks at Southwark Playhouse and you will hate yourself forever if you don't go to see it. Honest.

So, 'Xanadu'? What's that about then? Wasn't it a pome by Coleridge and a fillum with Olivia Newton-John in 1980? Yes to both, but it's also a fantastic musical that I saw on Broadway back in 2008 and a production has finally opened in London at Southwark Playhouse. I loved that mad production with it's glitter-balls so I had to book tickets when they went on sale and I'm so pleased I did. It was the perfect remedy to a bad day at work.

So, OK like, I'll tell you the story but it's complicated so listen hard people. Sonny is a graffiti artist who wants to create great art so Clio, the head Muse, descends to Earth to inspire him. To protect her secret identity she chooses the name Kira, an Australian accent and leg-warmers and no-one will guess she's a Muse. Sonny soon confides his artistic dream is to open a roller-disco (obvs!) and Kira decides to help him. Two of her sister Muses don't approve and decide to bring her down, like bad down. And there you have the plot. Sonny and Kira will make it over all obstacles including an older building developer who Kira inspired to build a theatre when he was younger. They will fight for their art and their love but there are a few hurdles. I hope you followed that exposition?

Of course, what really matters is that it's full of glittery dance and movement, camp as anything, roller-skates heaven and those wonderful ELO songs with alternative lyrics. 'Evil Woman' is about Melpomene (bad Muse), "Strange Magic' is when Kira and Sony realise they're in love and 'Physical' is when the Muses get captured by the gym-hunks of the earthly world. 'Xanadu' is the finale song of course, with the whole cast on roller-skates whizzing about that small space.

It was great fun on so many levels - I don't think I stopped smiling at all after it started and gave big clapping at the end of each half as well as much excited talk about it. Ace lines like '1980… the year inspiration left the arts' are pure gold against the backdrop of the roller-disco. Our heroes are Carly Anderson as Kira, Samuel Edwards as Sonny, Alison Jiear as Melpomene and Lizzy Connelly as Calliope (evil women both). The rest of the cast are most fab as well and the staging makes the best of the small space. My one plea is for more glitter-balls please - one can never have too many glitter-balls.

It's the funnest and daftest thing on in olde London Town at the moment so head on down to Elephant & Castle to see it. It's only on until 21 November and you will curse yourself forever if you fail to see it. You will, trust me. The only way to avoid that curse is to book tickets now. And no, I'm not on commission.

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