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  • Writer's pictureNeill Kovacic-Clarke

REVIEW OF THE YEAR 2023 - DISAPOINTMENTS

Given how much time I spend at the theatre it is inevitable that there will be some shows which I don’t enjoy as much as others. There are many reasons for this but the beauty of theatre is that we all interpret things differently and therefore we all like different things.


The reason I started Pink Prince Theatre 18 months ago, apart from being an outlet for my writing, was to support theatre. For this reason this piece is titled with the word ‘disappointment’ rather than calling it ‘worst show of the year’. I was personally disappointed with each of these productions and will detail my reasons below.


Interestingly I have seen that other theatre reviewers have included some of these shows in their top picks for 2023, showing just how subjective theatre really is. I also always encourage people to make up their own minds so if any of the productions mentioned here interest you then please book a ticket to see them as these are all just my personal views.



DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE YEAR 2023



1) A PLAY FOR THE LIVING IN A TIME OF EXTINCTION 

Theatre Royal Plymouth


When compiling this list unfortunately there was absolutely no question in my mind which show would receive top billing. The concept of this show was innovative but the execution was extremely poor.


The script itself was poor and by the end of the opening monologue I was already disengaged. The trouble I found was trying to distinguish if this was a play or a lecture about climate change. I understand that the point of the play was to get across the message of climate change, but it was really preachy and the audience was treated like stupid children. I found this utterly patronising and if I hadn’t been there to review I would have definitely left because of this.


You should never patronise your audience and the writer here had an agenda to push and was blinded by this. This was a lecture masquerading as a play and was actually really boring.




2) THE SNOWMAN 

Peacock Theatre, London


The best way for me to describe this reimagining of the classic story is as an unpleasant butchering of this beloved tale, completely missing the mark in every single aspect, and at 2 hours the run time is far too long and in my opinion it would benefit heavily from being condensed into a single act.


The choreography throughout was uninspired and there seemed to be a lot of walking around and arm waving which was quite frankly bizarre. I became disengaged very quickly and this was another occasion where I considered leaving during the interval.




3) CHARLIE & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY

Theatre Royal Plymouth


There was so much potential with this show to dazzle and engage the audience but in my opinion it severely underdelivered on every aspect. A forgettable soundtrack, low quality costumes, ill-fitting wigs and poor production values really cheapened this production.


An incredibly slow drawn out start and mediocre performances left me wanting more. Willy Wonka seemed to have lost all his eccentricities which was a huge disappointment.


The whole production was over-acted and was verging on a pantomime, but without the jokes and I felt like this was an insult to the original text which I felt had been butchered and hashed together again.




4) I SHOULD BE SO LUCKY

Theatre Royal Plymouth


This one was a shock for me as it should have been so good and I genuinely expected to love this show. Unfortunately the issues with this production were quickly evident as a lacklustre story with no depth was accompanied by lazy choreography and pitchy vocals. Everything was overacted and felt more like an end of the pier pantomime than a big hit musical. I love a bit of cheese, but this production chased cheap laughs as it muddled through awkwardly boring scenes.


Add to this constant weird virtual appearances from Kylie Minogue (which screamed of a desperate gimmick to fill seats), some stereotypical gay characters and some offensive vocals and you have a show which I strongly believe will have no future once this tour ends - although I’m happy to be proved wrong!




5) BONNIE & CLYDE 

Garrick Theatre, London


I was shocked that I didn’t enjoy Bonnie & Clyde, especially with the huge hype around it. A huge part of my disappointment of this production is that the sound was awful throughout and as a technical theatre nerd this is unforgivable, especially in a huge West End production.


Also, there were a lot of tuning issues within the cast when they were singing. I wasn’t expecting this as I had seen some of the performers before and enjoyed them. Maybe the technical issues meant they couldn’t heat themselves properly.


It’s unfortunate but because of these issues I was disengaged really early and the production never won me back.


It Is worth noting however that even though this SHOW made this list, it is the only featured production that I would be willing to return to for a second viewing, because maybe if it wasn’t for the technical issues then I would have felt differently about it.



So there we have it. The productions I was most disappointed with in 2023. A list like this can sometimes be controversial and I’d be interested to hear what you think. Do you agree with my choices? One thing a list like this does encourage is a good debate!


Neill Kovacic-Clarke


Disclaimer: All views are my own and I pride myself on being honest and free from influence. Some of the shows mentioned above were from productions which I had received invites to see, meaning my ticket was gifted. All venues are only mentioned for reference because they are where I saw the each of the productions. The venues had no part in the production of the shows so this article should in no way reflect negatively on them.

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