Review Round Up: The View Upstairs, Soho Theatre

Discover what critics have made of the the European premiere of this new musical now playing at the Soho Theatre…

(c)Darren Bell.

Musical Manda: ***** “With an outstanding cast, varied score and absolutely riveting story The View Upstairs is a must-see show of the summer”

The Stage: *** “Overall, it’s an enjoyable show, but with a tighter book,  could prove an even more effective exploration of an age when being gay could put people in mortal danger.”

British ***** “this piece not only honours LGBTQ+ people of the past, but of the present and future. It brought whoops and shouts from the audience, and whether you’re LGBTQ+ or an ally, get yourself to see this original, moving, strong musical, which, when a third of the PM’s new cabinet voted against legislation to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ people, is VITAL.”

Evening Standard: ** “While the songs can be derivative, the writing ties itself in knots by trying to address too much: gay spaces becoming co-opted as they become commodified, today’s LGBTQ+ community’s debt to its ancestors, the tension between progress won and prejudice still to be fought.”

WhatsOnStage: *** “Vernon’s score is consistent rather than catchy, and the play’s polemic would have a deeper impact if it was served up with a tad more ambiguity. Nevertheless, this is both a moving elegy for the dead and a riotous call-to-arms to protect the hard-won victories of the gay rights movement.” ** “The writing is rather simplistic with our players declaring exactly how they feel exactly when they feel it which makes the piece feel rather shallow, and really a little too heavily on tired queer tropes.”

Pocket Size Theatre: **** “Arguably led by Tyrone Huntley, who is sensational as always, this cast is well rounded and completely dispel the rumour that musical theatre performers cannot act. While their vocals are second to none, everybody’s performance is led by acting, which is refreshing to see in this ‘belt and riff’ dominated industry.”

Time Out: **** “funny, moving and, crucially, angry with a ferocity that slams together ‘then’ with a Trump-divided ‘now’, with LGBTQ+ hate crimes increasing, as a reminder that what is hard-won can easily be lost.”

Theatre Weekly: **** “It is the contrast between today, and nearly half a century ago, which The View UpStairscaptures so vividly.”

The Reviews Hub: **** “A View Upstairs is gorgeous if a little contrived but so worth the ticket price for the performances and history lesson.” ***** “This is a trail blazer of a show with an outstanding cast who received a well deserved ovation at the end. Top Draw entertainment skilfully directed by Jonathan O Boyle.”

Musical Theatre Review: *** “it feels like a lecture that, despite some inspirational numbers and fine performance, The View Upstairs has not earned.”

British Theatre Guide: “Jonathan O’Boyle’s direction effectively mingles present day with the ghosts in the shadows and the transitions of mood, including Richard’s (Joseph Prouse) point-making prayer meeting, but though it disguises the episodic nature of the script it still leaves a feeling that this comparison of today’s gay life with that less free but pre-HIV world doesn’t deliver as much as it should in its 95 minutes.”

Rewrite This Story: **** “Jonathan O’Boyle has directed a moving production which feels like an homage to those fighting for gay rights in the past, those fighting now and those who are yet to realise they need to fight.” *** “But the book just doesn’t rise to the story and the score isn’t powerful enough to take up the slack in spite of the efforts of director Jonathan O’Boyle. Things are saved by that first rate cast, even when confronted with cliché characters to play.”

The Spy in the Stalls: *** “A lot of numbers are packed into this one act musical but the energy and vocal agility of all the cast provide the spark that sets this piece ablaze, despite the dampening effects of some over-familiar moralising.”

Plays To See: ** “this production has a great cast, a great band under Bob Broad, and a great set. It’s just not a great show. Which is a shame. It’s so nearly there it hurts because it could be an important show.”

The View Upstairs continues to play at the Soho Theatre until the 24th August.

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