The Fantasticks

19 January 2016 | 12:47 pm | Danielle O'Donohue

"This is a rare misstep for Hayes but one they should bounce back from with Little Shop Of Horrors."

The Fantasticks is an odd choice for Hayes Theatre. So far Hayes has built a sterling reputation on staging small scale but sophisticated musicals, produced with sparkle and wit. The Fantasticks seems to be a musical out of step with time. Clunky and earnest, it's a love story that pays homage to Shakespeare without ever capturing the spark that ignites the Bard's doomed lovers.

And in 2016 do we really need a song that is all about different types of rape, even if the song is using the word in its original meaning, to abduct? There is an alternative version of the song that can be used when staging the play and seems a much better alternative than having the men in your cast sing, "The drunken rape. It's done completely in a cheap saloon" or "The rape by day, but the rape by night is best" about a foiled abduction they are planning for 16-year-old Luisa. The plan is for Luisa's neighbour and suitor Matt to foil the abduction and as her saviour cement her affections. Though Jonathan Hickey as Matt gets to show off his rich voice and comedic chops, poor Bobbie-Jean Henning, our Louisa, is stuck in a completely passive role, given a couple of sweet romantic ballads but always playing off the men.

This is a rare misstep for Hayes but one they should bounce back from with Little Shop Of Horrors.

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