Disney's Newsies Film (Vue Cinema Showing): Musical Review

When I heard that a performance of the Broadway musical Newsies was going to be shown in Vue cinemas around the UK, I knew that I had to be there. I first heard about Newsies a couple of years ago when it took the dance world by storm, because of its amazing cast of dancers and choreography. And after seeing it for myself, I can 100% confirm that the hype was real. 

Seeing a musical in the cinema was a weird experience. It didn't feel right to be chatting through the adverts with somebody passive aggressively kicking the back of your seat whilst you're shovelling popcorn in your face which, get this, is five pounds now. FIVE pounds. In fairness, it only cost me eleven pounds and a train ticket to Leeds to see a show that ultimately would have cost a flight to New York and a couple of hundred pounds for a Broadway ticket so I shouldn't really complain about the confectionary, but still. 

I dragged my housemates along with me and we weren't really sure how the whole watching theatre in the cinema situation was going to work, especially as the musical itself is 2 hours 30 minutes long. There was a 20-ish minute unexpected intermission at the end of Act One so people could stretch their legs and nip to the loo but no prior warning of when the show would start up again, so it was difficult to judge. The other strange thing was not clapping. There were moments where it physically hurt to restrain myself from jumping up and hollering like the Broadway audience on the recording did, and it almost felt impolite to the people on the screen to just sit and stare at them (whilst still shovelling popcorn in your face, obviously) after they'd sung their hearts out. And the final slightly strange experience was watching a production recording on a screen; the camera angles sometimes threw you off a bit. Even though the close-ups were amazing, there were points where you felt like you were missing something by not being able to see the whole stage. Really, I couldn't have vocalised this better than the man sat in front of us who, at the end of Act One, stood and proclaimed to the crowd in his broad Yorkshire accent 'Oh I tell ya, I'm gonna bloody BREAK thy bloody cameraman's fingers'. I feel you pal. 

Another cinema vs theatre problem: no pretty backdrop to take a pic of.
So here's the infamous five pound popcorn. 

Anyway, the musical itself was incredible. Jeremy Jordan as Jack Kelly was absolutely flawless and despite being 34 years old in real life, all you saw on stage was a cheeky teenage newsboy. Obviously Jack was the principal character of the story, but to me it was the ensemble of newsboys, when they performed as a group, who were the real stars of the show. The absolute best moments of the show for me were The World Will Know and Seize The Day: when the entire chorus came together as a group, it was beyond powerful. 

The plot was engaging and humorous and heart-breaking all at the same time and highlighted a time in history which most of my generation is probably unaware of. The only thing I didn't love was their throwing in of a token disabled character whose only characteristic was to be disabled, but I suppose that was reflective of the early 1900s where the story is set. It probably wouldn't happen these days which is good, although I admit it's a shame that being allowed to whack social elitists with a crutch generally isn't acceptable in our time either. 

What stood above all else, though, was the quality of dancing. Every single member of the cast was a stand-out dancer alone, but watching all of the newsboys come together and whack out a killer routine was breathtaking. The choreography by Christopher Galletti was fabulous, and I wasn't surprised to later find out that it won him a Tony award. Classic jazz/musical theatre with dancers with beautiful ballet technique? The dream. And just when I thought it couldn't possibly get better, out came the tap shoes. OH, and when Katherine (Kara Lindsay) casually did that gorgeous high kick practically behind her head out of nowhere... I could go on. The dancing and choreography and staging of Newsies was hands-down the best out of any musical I've ever seen. 

So in case you haven't picked up on this already, I kinda like this show. The soundtrack will keep me going for a while, but I would LOVE to see it for myself if it ever came to the UK. Seeing it in the cinema was a great experience and meant that a lot of people got to see the show who wouldn't otherwise, but for me it didn't compare to the experience of being in the theatre. So, everybody tightly cross your fingers that Newsies comes to the UK one day: I'll be buying a ticket, and I wholeheartedly recommend that you do too.

Pippa x

No comments