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Woody Sez (Arts Theatre, London)

PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:50 pm
by uiwangmike
This fast-paced 2 and a half hour trawl through the life and songs of Woody Guthrie seems to be having dificulty putting bums on seats judging from my visit last night. It deserves to be doing much better. Four performers, two male and two female, do 27 songs, mostly, but not all, Woody compositions (fine versions of Columbus Stockade Blues and This World is Not my Home stick in the mind), and play a variety of instruments - apart from the obvious ones, autoharp, dulcimer, mandolin, dobro and jew's harp.
The biog part haturally includes some short chunks of Bound for Glory, but is somewhat on the lite side, with Woody's less attractive practices passed over. But since the show is a celebration, that's OK with me. Anyway, highly recommended. It's a small theatre, so the cheapest seats are fine. The show continues to April 2.

Re: Woody Sez (Arts Theatre, London)

PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 11:14 am
by NormanD
There's also another review from Garth elsewhere here and I'd like to add my strong recommendation to go see it during the next week or so before it finishes.

It's a good venue and, as Mike says, seat position is no problem. None of the acoustic instruments is amplified, the performers don't wear head mics, so the sound is real and vibrant. The four players work their socks off and my only criticism would be that Woody would never have been quite that polished, though he must have learned his chops as a radio entertainer.

I'm not sure where the show's going to next, if at all. It won't make the multi-million status of the never-ending "Mama Mia", but if you know Woody's songs, you'll get as much fun as you would at singalongaAbba.

I won't add to the other comments about the glossing over of Woody's personal behaviour. There are quite a few well detailed biographies around that can fill you in on this. Maybe there'll eventually be another musical that takes the Piaf approach, the flawed genius. Meanwhile, I'll gladly settle for this simple celebration of the man and his great songs.

There are plenty of two-for-one ticket offers (various promotional codes, including "Songlines", "Tom Joad", "socialist") - so get yourself down there.