Broadway: Kritiker torpedieren die “Pirate Queen”

Ob die Kritiker New Yorks “The Pirate Queen”, das neue Musical der “Les Mis”-Macher Boublil und Schönberg, nur torpediert oder aber erfolgreich versenkt haben, wird sich erst in den nächsten Wochen beziehungsweise Monaten entscheiden. Die Detonationskraft der Torpedos war jedoch enorm. Ein paar Zitate:

Variety The sad realization of watching “The Pirate Queen” is not that it’s especially bad, but that despite its dense action and wealth of conflict (both of the heart and the sword), it’s dull. It’s a relief in this context to be jarred out of boredom by the crotch-thrusting, hip-grinding vulgarity and innuendo-drenched lyrics (”I may well have to beach her/Take her inland to teach her”) of Chait’s act-one song, “Boys’ll Be Boys” — a raucous pub number filled with lusty lads and brassy tarts, which corresponds precisely to “Master of the House” in “Les Miz.” Elsewhere, this is a plodding Harlequin historical romance. For all its inflamed passions, it never ignites. [Variety]

New York Sun Boublil and Schönberg never have placed a high premium on stylistic verisimilitude. The “Pirate Queen” score sounds like their typical, unapologetically melodic, fare seasoned with a dusting of Irish instrumentation straight out of James Horner’s “Titanic” score. Still, it’s no less genuine than the duo’s previous evocations of 19th-century France and 1970s Vietnam, and nobody minded much then. More worrisome is their willingness to crib blatantly from “Les Misà©rables. With the exception of a sturdy ballad for Grace at the end of Act 1 and a final confrontation between the queens, the alternately syrupy and boisterous score rarely rises to even the lesser moments of “Les Misà©rables.” The lyrics by Mr. Boublil, his “Miss Saigon” collaborator Richard Maltby Jr. and John Dempsey range from the serviceable to the squirm-inducing. [New York Sun]

New York Times For one thing, it really isn’t fair to open the poor «Pirate Queen” when a revival of «Les Misà©rables” is running just two blocks away. Granted, the current «Misà©rables” is smaller and tinnier than the original (which closed only in 2003). But it plies the same historical-epic formula as «The Pirate Queen” to far more coherent and compelling ends. There’s not a ballad or choral number in «The Pirate Queen” that doesn’t sound like a garbled echo of a more stirring tune from «Les Miz,” given the requisite touch of green via musical accents of pennywhistle, uilleann pipes and Gaelic harps. And why wasn’t it arranged for «The Pirate Queen,” which features various hoist-a-glass anthems to the Irish soul, to open on St. Patrick’s Day? Timing is against this musical in a more significant sense as well. «The Pirate Queen” registers as a relic of a long-gone era, and I don’t mean the 1500s. The big-sound, big-cast show pioneered by Messrs. Boublil and Schönberg is now as much a throwback to the 1980s as big hair and big shoulders. The crushing tidal waves of music that emanate from the stage, eardrum-tingling as they are, seem to come from distant shores indeed.[New York Times]

APP Yet in the end, “The Pirate Queen” remains a dry history lesson, a musical that presents the past in such a perfunctory manner that Grace O’Malley sinks in a sea of ordinary.[APP]

am New York Like “The Times They Are A-Changin,” “Lestat” or “Lennon,” “The Pirate Queen” should have been put out of its misery immediately following its out-of-town tryout. Even following numerous revisions to its script and score, it remains a misshapen mishmash of a super-sized 1980s English mega-musical, a genre that would be best forgotten. [am New York]

Bloomberg What of the music? If you liked Boublil and Schonberg’s previous shows — or even if you didn’t — you’ll find them unabashedly recycled here. Close your eyes and forget the lyrics (lots of luck!), and you can set sail for Saigon or Paris with ease. It is music from the team of meat grinder and cookie cutter, vaguely operatic and only barely operational. [Bloomberg]

NY News.com The story has potential, but the “Les Miz” folks - Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg - merely recycle sounds, word patterns and even groupings of people in rags from their earlier show. The score sounds like “Les Miz” Lite. The script is like a comic book for 5-year-olds. [NY News.com]

USA Today The cast deserves better, as do the tourists and casual fans whom The Pirate Queen aims to seduce. I’d advise the latter to catch a community-theater staging of an old musical instead. You’ll spare yourself 2½ hours of tedium — and I’m not talking about the commute.[USA Today]

courant.com With Lee providing seascapes and rugged stone walls of castles and dungeons, as well as the ornate Tudor architecture and hangings of Elizabeth’s court, “The Pirate Queen” looks almost Shakespearean at times. But there is little high drama in this saga. The direction by Galati, Daniele and the uncredited Maltby attempts to replicate the clustered movement patterns of Trevor Nunn and John Caird in “Les Miz,” and J. Steven White has staged some bristling duels. But overall, “The Pirate Queen” earns the label coined by the Broadway musical chronicler, Ethan Morden. Doherty and McColgan have invested their millions in a “floperetta.” [courant.com]

Wohlgesonnene Medien sprechen von “mixed reviews”, die Chance, nicht unterzugehen, besteht also noch, aber sie ist gering. Am 10. Juni 2007 findet die Verleihung der diesjährigen Tony Awards statt. Falls sich “The Pirate Queen” bis dahin halten kann und ein paar Awards absahnt, kann das Abenteuer noch gut ausgehen, sonst heißt es bald: Alle Mann von Bord, die Queen zuerst.


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