Thursday 11th September, I was lucky enough to see ‘Forbidden Broadway’ at the Vaudeville Theatre in London.
Not normally a show I would choose to see, but rather watch on Youtube, I was sceptical as to how funny the show would be. Would it live up to expectations or crash and burn?
When I was 14, video clips of the show did the rounds among my ‘stagey’ friends, so I was relying on the newer show parodies to keep it fresh. However, I needn’t have bothered worrying as the stellar cast made the show as fresh as ever and as ‘pant-wetting’ hilarious as the reviews claim!
The small cast of four (and a magical pianist) were spectacularly energetic and ridiculously talented as they mocked their way through most of the West End’s shows and characters. Not even Cameron Mackintosh escaped their brutal lashings…
Anna-Jane Casey, Damian Humbley, Ben Lewis, and Youtube sensation, Christina Bianco, powered through every musical number with gusto, flawless vocals and fabulous facial expressions (the award going to Anna-Jane Casey for the most hilarious face).
From the old classic parodies of ‘Les Miserables’ to the new and current ‘Once’, this musical revue appealed to every Musical Theatre fan in the audience, one way or another. I was pleasantly surprised to notice how many people enjoyed, and understood, the parody of Stephen Sondheim, proving that people still know and respect the classic shows as well as the new mega musicals.
Whilst some of the numbers were a bit hit and miss, they were very few and far between! The ‘On my phone’ parody of ‘On my Own’ (Les Miserables) was a little tiring as it was such an obvious choice to parody that it lacked much inspiration. Also, the ‘West Side Story’ take on ‘America’ went over even my head, as you had to have an excellent background knowledge of two actresses that have played Anita before. Whoooosh!
But when they hit…boy, did they hit! The biggest laugh of the night came in the simple form of Damian Humbley’s Jean Valjean failing to jump off the ‘revolve’ in time to hit his starting note and having to wait to go all the way around the stage again; pure hilarity!
And show stopping performance of the night came in two songs, but from the same performer. “The wickedly talented, one of a kind…Christina Bianco” nearly brought the house down with both of her impressions of ‘Wicked’ originals Kristen Chenoweth and Idina Menzel.
Her ‘Glitter and be Gay’ merged with ‘Popular’ in Act 1, had her nearly blowing the roof off of the Vaudeville Theatre; the tiny actress hitting out notes only dogs can hear. Her flawless ability to switch between the two vocal styles and her spot on interpretations highlight her as a true star of impressions!
Then, to top off her winning streak, Christina parodied Idina’s recent hit, ‘Let it Go’, sounding uncannily like the diva, only better! As Christina sang: “My nodes never bothered me anyway”…well they certainly don’t for Christina, as she belted out the song with much more ease than Idina herself.
If you long for an easy night at the theatre that doesn’t require much concentration and will give your abs a work out from the comfort of a chair, then look no further than ‘Forbidden Broadway’. Or even if you just fancy seeing some amazing actors prance about the stage insulting the industry…You are really missing out if you don’t catch this cast!
The show is scheduled to run at the Vaudeville Theatre until 22nd November, so make sure you see it or you’ll be kicking yourself!
Thank you to www.officialtheatre.com for giving me the chance to experience this delightful show!