Monday, October 26, 2015
First staged in New York 8 years ago it was a labour of love by Douglas Carter Beane to get the frankly awful and critically panned synonymous 1980 film rewritten, re-energised and reimagined for the New York stage.
And what a smash he produced! At the time Tony nominated and Drama Desk Award winner the show finally roller-skates into London town.
Self-aware, self-parodying, self-referential, self-mocking, it has singing, it has dancing, and it has roller-skating. It has more cheese than a cheese factory and it is one of the funniest things I have seen on the London stage in a very long time.
After the first 20 minutes my jaw was aching from laughing so hard I didn't think I'd make it through to the interval. My sides literally ached from laughing.
The plot - such that it is - mixes Heaven Can Wait with Clash of the Titans. Clio (aka Kira), one of the ancient Muses, visits earth, falls in love with an aspiring artist (I use the term 'artist' loosely as his aspirations seems to stretch only as far as opening a Roller Disco) and so falls foul of one of the Greek Gods' cardinal rules.
Cue, singing, dancing, melodrama, and roller-skating to an Electric Light Orchestra disco soundtrack. Oh and let's not forget Kira spot-on Olivia Newton-John piss-taking Aussie accent
Sounds from the film were all there; I'm Alive, Magic, All Over the World, Don't Walk Away, Suddenly, as well as interpolations of two other classic ELO songs, Strange Magic and Evil Woman as well as ONJ's Physical. And let's not forget the final Xanadu song itself. One of the best disco smashes ever to grace the airwaves and dancefloors. And they did it proud.