Ginger Hibiscus | REVIEW – Forbidden Broadway
London theatre West End News reviews
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03 Aug REVIEW – Forbidden Broadway

Forbidden Broadway was recently awarded its first ever West End transfer, opening at the Vaudeville Theatre on 9th September, where it will play for 11 weeks. This comes following a sold out (extended!) run at the Menier Chocolate Factory, and a hugely popular performance at West End Live 2014. The show pokes fun at productions, personalities and etiquette from both Broadway and the West End, satirising the quirks of Theatreland, from the Les Misérables revolve to the corporate colonisation of Broadway.

The show is sprinkled with really funny moments; the depiction of The Book of Mormon, and “The Americans Cream” (a charming adaptation of Miss Saigon’s, “The American Dream”) were highlights, where clever lyrics met strong vocals with an almost dead-pan delivery. However almost all the genuinely funny numbers were used at West End Live, meaning they didn’t deliver that hit of surprise and delight when they came up on the night. Unfortunately, the rest of the performance seemed to centre around cheap laughs, exemplified by a leprechaun popping up shouting, “potato.” I kid you not. More irritating than that, were songs being performed in “comical” voices. I understand that the point is to satirise the voices they mimic, but it’s so frustrating to listen to when you know how talented the vocalists are.

Whilst Forbidden Broadway has been adapted for West End rather than Broadway audiences, I’m not sure this adaptation has gone far enough; vast swathes were performed in painful US accents, and the long periods focusing on Liza Minelli and The Little Mermaid just felt irrelevant. The result was that I left feeling a little perplexed as to who it was targeted at. If it’s for the theatre-loving, they probably needed some more profound observations than that Les Mis has been going on for a long time, and that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory isn’t the most imaginative. If it’s not for the theatre-loving, surely most of the content will be lost on the audience.

Did Forbidden Broadway make me laugh? Yes. Was it an enjoyable couple of hours of Friday night escapism? Yes. Would I pay to go again? Definitely not. The majority of the performance felt like a tour of the shows that I would rather have been watching- and with tickets at the Vaudeville costing up to £67.50, I’d prefer to spend the evening in a cheap seat at Miss Saigon.