Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January 31. Day 31. Ladies in Black

At the opening night party of the return season of Ladies in Black tonight, Queensland Theatre's artistic director Sam Strong announced that the show was the company's highest grossing show EVER. Shows how little I know. When I saw the show the first time around I really didn't like it. At all. It is quite possible I was the only person who felt this way and it went on to win a large number of awards. My distaste surprised even me because I was so excited about Queensland Theatre Company's (it was a company then) decision to program a piece of musical theatre. I was even more excited that it was an original home grown piece. And that original late 2015 production had one of the most beautiful looking sets and pieces of design ever. But a musical needs to make your heart sing and it didn't. It felt flat and clunky and actually a bit amateurish. Fast forward to tonight. Now I won't claim this is now a personal favourite but now I get what the fuss was about. There have been five cast changes but many of the original cast remain. While every new cast member brings something, I don't see that as the defining difference. It just felt stronger and more confident. Humour that made me cringe first time around made me smile in this outing. It was as though the show now filled its own big boots. There are still elements I didn't take to. But the bits I loved first time around (like the song He's a Bastard) remained solid and many of the less enjoyable moments I warmed to in the new version. So while this isn't an apology, or a backdown or a backflip, it is a change of heart. I stand by my assessment that I had a five out of 10 feeling last time. That's my truth. Tonight I would go as high as eight. And just to be clear I reached this assessment before the opening night party ....

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