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Review of Iconic The Show at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

Settling down to write this review and knowing what it is to contain makes it clear to me that the majority of those at Royal & Derngate last night are not going to agree with me. Howeever, I went to Iconic The Show based on good reviews so I think the record needs setting the other way a little to protect the few.

Iconic The Show is an evening "celebrating the most iconic movie tracks of all time", and it tries to do this it really does, but sometimes try as you might, Iconic ends up being the result.

The first enormous showbreaking problem is how just one technical decision can pretty much destroy a production. For whatever reason, Iconic's sound engineers choose to drive the volume of the show up beyond sensible levels. So you have a vastly uncomfortable volume, which while I am sure many people loved, is clearly destroying the sound quality with the distortion is creates. The singers themselves are I am pretty sure excellent and the quieter numbers appear to suggest this, however quiet this show does rarely and we are never far from a high-octane number which rattles the building and leaves the speakers with no give to create quality audio. The level is so high that even some of the speech is broken.

I left at the interval from my seat in the stalls with a headache (which however you look at isn't clever) and returned from it having sneaked up to a back seat in the circle. It was much quieter here and therefore more comfortable, but it did tend to highlight even more the clarity that was being lost in the audio as lyrics were often left unheard.

So if this show is all about noise, so be it. It gets it right and the audience appeared to be lapping it up, However, then we have the structure of the show itself. It is built around a flimsy and pretty pointless tale of a future where cinemas are non-existant and this is a secret den to see films of old come to life. Creating this story are the kind of comedy sketches and material that any reputable end of pier show would discard into the sea. This is really a poor effort, with dialogue created via the sledgehammering of film titles and classic quotes into it. It is poor and no matter how many times you say to the audience that "it don't get any better than this" after each groan is going to make the situation better.

Another weird decision is for a show which has the opportunity to mine decades of classic films songs, it then chooses to spend its first forty minutes just on James Bond themes. A totally lazy decision, which as it developed truly made me wonder if I had come to the wrong show. Then there is the family show theory, a joke early on suggests that Steve struggles to understand this and yes I can see that. Moments don't fit into a family friendly show and to be honest most of the songs origins don't either, with many coming from 18 certificate films, and even if is comically done, the reenactment of the ear removal scene from Reservoir Dogs doesn't make it good wholesome entertainment. Then there is the fact that it is more than a tad misogynistic, with an early scene depicting two ladies ripping the clothes of another down to her underwear and then spending most of the show gyrating in various forms of limited clothing make it generally not one for little Johnny to attend.

Then there is the fact that I don't need to hear a fellow performer state that the creator of this show is a "genius" at the finale as I can't help but think this is either scripted (by the genius), sycophantically simpering on the part of the performer, or just really sickenly egocentric. I also don't need that star to go outside the theme of a show he has created and perform a song simply because he is famous for performing it. Is he that shallow that he thinks it can't work without it?

Steve said in (a likely) scripted aside to the audience early on during one of those "comedy" scenes that "for anyone who hasn't seen me before they are going to think this is s**t. However they'll get it later". Well sorry, Steve I didn't and whether 600 or whatever are raving about this and dancing out their seats, you can't disguise the fact that at a standard ticket price of £26, this is pretty poorly constructed and cheap entertainment. However for those that are Steinman fans, and there appear to be plenty, I am sure you loved it. For me, I think this is extremely poorly produced material and let that be a warning to you.

«½


Performance reviewed: Saturday 3rd June 2017 at the Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton.

Iconic The Show was at the Royal & Derngate Saturday 3rd June 2017 only 
and continues its tour throughout 2017 and with dates in 2018. Details of dates and locations can be found at http://www.iconictheshow.com/

For further details visit the Royal & Derngate website at http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/

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