Admit it, you didn't think I could make it this long, even on holiday, without going to the theatre. OK, if I hadn't been unlucky in the Book of Mormon
lottery you would have been reading this last Thursday. But as triomakesmehot
is in New York for a couple of the same days as me it should perhaps be no surprise that my first Broadway show was Rob Ashford's 50th anniversary revival of Frank Loesser, Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert's How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
, which sees Daniel Radcliffe making his musical comedy debut.
The story of a window-cleaner, Finch (Radcliffe) who through luck and cunning ends up getting repeatedly promoted until he's an executive, it's in some ways an odd choice. The show hasn't aged too well and lacks memorable tunes (only the finale "Brotherhood of Man" is a real foot-tapper.) In other ways it's a canny choice of vehicle as Radcliffe can carry a tune, which is all that's required of him here - there's no big belters and he coasts on charm and stage presence. It's also a show that doesn't entirely rest on his tiny shoulders - it's a surprisingly small lead role, he's only on stage about half the show. John Larroquette heads the supporting cast as the philandering boss, and leading ladies Rose Hemingway, Tammy Blanchard, Mary Faber and Ellen Harvey do well with female roles that date the show more than anything else: It's inherently chauvinistic, and however appealing Radcliffe and Larroquette may be, their characters are anything but. I didn't mind so much Hemingway's Rosemary falling for Finch at first sight, but her continuing to love him when he treats her like furniture throughout is a bit hard to get behind.
Designers Derek McLane (sets) and Catherine Zuber (costumes) help gloss over some of this with cartoonish colours and 60s designs I really liked, setting this up very much as a cheesy period piece which helps keep things light. While Equus
might have reinvented DanRad as a sex symbol, his look here is a bit too Pee Wee Herman to do much for me; fortunately the ensemble includes Charlie Williams as Mr Jenkins, providing some major eye candy and athletic dancing. Ashford and his creatives have managed to make this a lot of fun but you can't quite ignore it's cheerfully misogynistic tone and without star names this show surely wouldn't have been too appealing as a revival.How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
by Frank Loesser, Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert is booking until the 24th of December at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, New York.