I have to confess that taking a commission to see Forbidden Broadway at the Menier was a lot like being paid to see Spring Awakening: I’d seen both in New York and knew the material going in, and it almost felt like cheating to get paid to write about it.
The good news is that I like the London cast of Forbidden Broadway far more than I did the locals in Spring Awakening. Forbidden Broadway also has a tonne of new UK specific material, some of the best recent US bits (though they cut the dialogue sequences from the Jersey Boys and Spring Awakening segments), and a few of the old classics which never fail to amuse (Ten Years More, Circle of Mice.) Unfortunately there’s plenty of the diva jokes which, honestly, are my least favourite parts but I’ve never been gaga for Liza or Sarah so while the general humour is funny - as it is to the many, many tourists who kept Forbidden Broadway open through the years - I was always ready for the next show, trend, and gimmick to be eviscerated before my eyes. The humour is generic enough for casual fans to get it but there are layers for the hardcore to peel back and it’s oh so mean but only as a lesson in tough love.
Speaking of cuts, the show moved fast - VERY fast. When I saw Roast of Utopia I counted around 20-25 sketches, and I would hazard to say there’s closer to 30 here, though the production here is also a good 30 minutes longer. And, of course, time flies when you’re laughing your head off and trying to hide your jealousy that someone else’s blog got namechecked in the first parody and yours didn’t.
Still reading this? Why? Go book tickets (just leave some cheap ones available so I can go again!)
Where: Menier Chocolate Factory
When: Tu-Sa @ 20:00, Sa/Su @ 15:30
How Much: £25 except Saturday matinees £15
Concessions: Ask directly, £34/24 show + meal deal bookable in advance
RZ Unofficial “Worth Paying”: £25. The legend lives.
RZ Other Notes: What’s Jest End again?