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TRCH Robin Hood

Scandalous!

15 July 08 words: Adrian Bhagat
The life and loves of D.H. Lawrence. Would you let your wife or servant watch this musical?

DH LawrenceScandalous! is a new musical about the life of D.H. Lawrence, written by Nottingham-born composer Glyn Bailey. To aid his attempts to get the work professionally performed, the Playhouse was host to a rehearsed reading with music and songs (but no costumes or acting) performed by a cast of eighteen singers. Given that the cast had only a few days to rehearse, the performance itself was excellent.

Although the publicity and title suggest that this is going to be a racy romp through Lawrence's love affairs and scandals, this is a fairly straightforward telling of his life story, from humble beginnings, through love affairs, the censorship of his work and an early death. Scandalous! doesn't break the mould of musicals and unfortunately few of the songs are very strong or memorable. However, the biographical details are related well and form an interesting and informative portrait of one of Nottingham's finest sons, though it seems a shame that there are few occasions where Lawrence's own words are used.

Like all good musicals, there are moments of humour and pathos. The funniest moments occur during the Lady Chatterley obscenity trial where the hypocritical barristers keep copies of the book for their own perusal. On the other hand, in the final scene as Lawrence lays dying of tuberculosis he sings of his vision of rising like a Phoenix to become an acclaimed writer. Although the phoenix was a recurring symbol in Lawrence's writing, this scene did come across as more cheesy than uplifting.

Glyn Bailey's attempts to get Scandalous! performed are beginning to bear fruit as it is due to be performed professionally in New Orleans next year. For my money, it lacks the necessary magical ingredient to make a smash hit, but we shall see.


Scandalous! was performed at Nottingham Playhouse on 10th and 11th July 2008

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