Blink! – the double-take

Last night, Paul and I went back to the [Above the Stag](http://www.thestage.co.uk/listings/venue.php/7934/above-the-stag-london) theatre in Victoria to see _Blink!_, a revue about songs from musicals that closed early. For both of us it was our second time to see the show, although we’d previously seen it on different nights. My first was on press night, when I [reviewed it for _The Stage_](http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/25036/blink-).

When I reviewed the show, I said:

> The weakest elements come when the actors must drop out of character and narrate the history of the dud shows direct. While there is an element of humour to be had from their frequent fluffs, more work clearly needs to be done

Thankfully, those bits did seem to have improved since press night – there were certainly far fewer occasions where the actors dried. They still feel clumsy and stilted, though, and it feels wrong to ask a performer who’s just finished belting a number to then switch to a straight narration.

The core of shows like this is not the narration, though, but the performances of the songs. There were points which didn’t work quite as well as on press night, but then you always get variation from show to show. And although there was a full house last night, as there was the last time I saw the show, the audience wasn’t quite as receptive, which has a big impact on the onstage performance.

_Blink!_ is on at Above the Stag until August 16 — which means that current West End flop _[Too Close to the Sun](http://matthewman.net/2009/07/27/ernie-get-your-gun/)_, which will have closed by then, qualifies for inclusion…

To finish, here’s a YouTube version of Debra Monk performing one of the songs included in the show, _Everybody’s Girl_, from Kander and Ebb’s **Steel Pier**. In the show, it’s performed by Julia G Addison (and in the after party, **Legally Blonde** star Sheridan Smith proclaimed, “I’ve found my new audition song!”)

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJg7YZHRXtE

Blink!, Above the Stag

A cabaret of songs from unsuccessful musicals will be made or broken by the selection of material. Save for a couple of misses, Blink’s repertoire provides for an evening packed with memorable and occasionally well-known numbers.

A flexible approach to the brief accommodates shows that succeeded in Broadway but flopped in London (or vice versa) as frequently as shows that anyone could see had no chance. This allows moments such as Tim McArthur’s rendition of La Cage Aux Folles’ I Am What I Am, which is easily on a par with the current West End version.

That number is the most effective of the ballads included. The cast are clearly more comfortable, however, with the comedy numbers which make up the majority of the running time. Whether it’s a jaw-dropping version of the Silence of the Lambs or an inspired medley of numbers gleefully ridiculing actor-musician revivals, there are numerous opportunities for belly laughs from an ensemble that is clearly revelling in the material.

The weakest elements come when the actors must drop out of character and narrate the history of the dud shows direct. While there is an element of humour to be had from their frequent fluffs, more work clearly needs to be done to improve what is already a high quality evening.

_Reviewed for [The Stage](http://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/review.php/25036/blink)_

Devised & directed by: Peter Bull and Tim McArthur
Management: Trilby Productions
Cast: Julia G Addison, Alexander Bradford, Nikki Gerard, Tim McArthur, Elena Rossi
Design: Prav Menon-Johansson
Lighting: Howard Hudson
Musical direction: Debbie Morris