Stephen Ward Reviews - Aldwych Theatre

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Venue Information
Aldwych Theatre

Aldwych Theatre
49 Aldwych
London
London
WC2B 4DF

Seating Plan

Directions

Directions
(10mins) Head out onto the main road Strand. Cross street where possible and go right. When you reach the fork, veer left onto Aldwych.

Show Information
Booking From: Saturday, 29th March 2014
Booking Until: Saturday, 29th March 2014
Running Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Show Status: production_closed
Review Summary
Average Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars based on 93 review(s)

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Latest Review: "HEY! WE HAVEN'T REACHED LONDON YET (AUGUST 26) AND YOU ARE CLOSING ALREADY!! JAMES LIVED THROUGH ..."

Reviews Sort by
    Monday, 9th Dec 2013 by Phil101

This show was a huge disappointment. It might be time for ALW to hang up his mask. He had moments of genius throughout the 70s to late 80s, but like every famous person, the popular too become old fashioned and must make way for the new.

What's wrong with the show? It's dull. It's dominated by men in boring grey suits playing British politicians and aristocracy from the 1960s. It's dominated by men.... Yawn. There are nice enough songs peppered throughout, but the shame is they're for the most part, sung badly. As good as an actor the guy playing Stephen Ward was, his vocals were not strong. I saw the show on the second night and judging by his intonation, I guessed he either had a bad ear or just didn't know the music thoroughly yet. The girl who plays Christine was lovely to look at, but was a poor singer, particularly when she attempted to sing in her head voice. Surprising that ALW chose to sacrifice his music for some eye candy. (I don't want to be completely mean though, she had a good pop voice and played her role well). The actors were in no way the reason for this musical sucking.

It's the script, the slow plodding pace, the typical ALW device of yet another male narrator, the cliched power ballad one third through act 2 by the wronged woman, the lack of chemistry between characters, the court room scene - fecking hell, it was like watching the movie version of Crown Court - the general try hard: "let's be like Mad Men" vibe, and not pulling it off.

Most people who see this show will be born after the Profumo scandal. They won't have lived through the paranoia of McCarthyism or understand the stupidity of it. There's not one character to feel sympathy for. I'd be surprised if this show does well.

    Monday, 9th Dec 2013 by Songster

This musical is about as boring as boring can be. Why ALW kicked out "Top Hat" from this theatre to replace it with this dross is the crime of the century. I suggest ALW should watch "Top Hat" to get an idea of how to entertain the paying public. ALW's production team ought to have the guts to tell him the truth. My toes were curling so much while watching this rubbish that they were scratching the back of my ankles.

My advice is to stay at home and don't waste your money on this utter dross.

    Monday, 9th Dec 2013 by Rex

I loved this show...more a musical play in my view. I enjoyed the simple staging particularly - just letting the story speak for itself through the excellent singing and acting.

My thinking is that Stephen Ward would do really well in an intimate venue ...a thought for the future perhaps?

    Monday, 9th Dec 2013 by Luke

There is a lot of Profumo scandal shows out there - Profumo the Musical, Keeler and my favourite Christine the Musical (about Christine Keeler)

I am a great admirer of ALW but I think this is not one of his best. The song, Never Had It So Good was not nearly as good as the Christine the Musical version and I must say I do not go along with his view that Stephen Ward was a victim. He was a pimp. The real victim was Christine Keeler - have you seen her picture lately. So sad and still hounded by the Press.

    Monday, 9th Dec 2013 by Doncor

I felt sordid at watching this dreadful rehash of old news; I do not know the truth about Stephen Ward and doubt, until the files are opened, if anyone else does. Perhaps there is a serious play lurking in here - there certainly is not a musical. The music was unadventurous and felt like a remix of old ALW writing. Just taking a sensational subject, adding some unmemorable songs and advertising as an ALW smash will only fool a few people for a short time.

    Sunday, 8th Dec 2013 by What is he thinking?

If you want to waste your money then this is the show to see!

Andrew Lloyd Webber has managed to write a score that is not only bland, but an insult to anyone who has ever picked up an instrument. Had Webber been a new composer hoping to get his show produced he'd have been laughed out of the room, but this is the product of successful shows and Webber having more money than sense.

The main fault is the orchestrations which completely destroy any vague moment of musical beauty. All the brass sounds and the majority of strings are replaced cheap synthesised keyboard sounds that sound nothing like instruments, are not fitting of the shows era and are more comical than musical. Orchestrators use a combination of electric and accoustic instruments to reflect the style of the show, but Webber has completely missed the mark here and proves why orchestral instruments are so important in Musical Theatre. If he had replaced the 26 strong Phantom Orchestra with these awful Keyboard imitation sounds it would close next week.

The lyrics for Sunset Boulevard were clearly fluke as the team could not deliver on this project. The lyrics are exactly why people don't like musicals as they are cheap and do not reflect how someone speaks, we speak in sentences why can't we sing in sentences. there was a clear lack of communication between Webber and his Lyricists Dom Black & Christopher Hampton as words were often shoehorned to fit with the melody.

The set, direction and lighting was as misguided and mismatched as the score. Simplicity works wonders in theatre but the lack of vision gave the feeling they had borrowed the set and were making it fit for this show.

There is nothing iconic, emotive or engaging about this show.

Please do not waste your hard earned cash when there is so many better Lloyd Webber shows and west end shows available.

    Sunday, 8th Dec 2013 by Oliver

One of the things I admire about Lloyd Webber is that he is a composer first and foremost and a songwriter second. Though his musicals abound with gloious melody, he never actually sets out to write a "numbers" show. This, in my view, is one of the reasons so many people fail to understand or appreciate his work. It is why one of the most brilliantly melodic scores of recent times, The Woman in White, was dismissed by a lot of theatregoers who failed to appreciate the intricacies of the score or the richness of melody. As for Stephen Ward, if the beauty of a melody such as "This Side of the Sky" escapes people there really is no hope...

    Sunday, 8th Dec 2013 by Disco

Atrocious show. The music is completely forgettable, and the script lacks bite and pace. The Profumo Affair is one of the most thrilling political stories of the last century and this production makes it seem banal and trivial. The fact that one of the finest musical composers had the bravery toput his name to music travesty'1963' makes me want to cry/watch Starlight Express.

Saving grace is the acting...The gent who played Stephen Ward did a fine job in trying circumstances.

    Sunday, 8th Dec 2013 by Colin

Saturday Matinee 7 December: I agree with the "play with music" comment but that's not a bad thing. It was infinitely better than "Keeler", intelligent, interesting and entertaining. Great acting with some gripping moments. Very well received by me and the audience. Suited to a small and intimate theatre.

    Sunday, 8th Dec 2013 by Valkyrie

I thought Stephen Ward was an extremely interesting and memorable show. It is not like Cats or Phantom so those expecting something similar will possibly be disappointed. Indeed, this show is about 'Stephen Ward' from the Profumo Affair that broke in the early 60's to much controversy, consequently, for those who do not have a clue what they are going to see, I would suggest some research would not go amiss. The 'action' is definitely in keeping with the era and story; the fashions authentic and smart and the songs memorable! The characterisation of Christine Keller and Mandy Rice Davis is spot on and Alex Hanson as Stephen Ward, superb! Indeed the whole cast was exemplary. Well done to all concerned and especially to ALW for staging something that is completely different yet works well!!

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