Currently showing at the Union Theatre is Julian Woolford’s adaptation of Lionel Bart’s failed musical Twang!! According to a 1966 issue of The Montreal Gazette, Bart’s musical was “the most expensive flop ever presented in the city.” It was performed 43 times and received many scathing reviews which led to the end of its tenure at the West End. Bart, the same songwriter who gave musical lovers ‘Oliver!’, lost his personal fortune because of the many failings of Twang!!: lack of a strong script; a badly underwritten part for Robin Hood; absence of comradery between the choreographer, writer and designers and, even, concerns over Bart’s recreational drug and alcohol usage.
In 2008, Woolford was commissioned to write a new book for the musical by the Estate of Lionel Bart. The current Head of Musical Theatre at Guildford School of Acting saw his adaptation performed first in 2013. Now in 2018, with direction from Bryan Hodgson and arrangement and orchestration by Richard John and Oli Jackson, there’s tons of fun and laughter to be experienced in this highly energetic, camp and tuneful production. Compared to fifty-two years ago there’s a lot more collaboration between the stronghold of sixteen young performers and musicians (John and Jackson) on show at Union Theatre’s jam-packed stage. Continue reading