remarkably bad, confused, unrelenting,excruciating
See it: if you need to see the most aptly titled piece of theatre you'll likely ever see.
Don’t see it if: Just don’t.
It's very rare to find a production or piece of theatre so thoroughly wrong that it has nothing to recommend it; not a moment or performance or bit of business that can justify enduring the time spent to get to it.
It's unfortunate because jobs are involved and at stake and, though the final result would seem to belie the fact, a lot of creative energy was spent and a great amount of thought — however misguided — went into it as well.
Dismissing a show like The Vanity is all too easy, and since the jibes and sarcasms just pour out and write themselves, a little restraint at least allows the questions of “why,” and then of course “how”; varying abilities aside, it’s too simple and unfair to simply blame the actors.
The biggest question might be: How was this production allowed to get so far? Why did/could no one edit the triple threat (yes, pun intended) writer/composer? The material seems to have been written in stone in some isolated, self-satisfied closet. How and why was it financed and backed?
In a show where the only successful moment (and character) was the welcoming opening announcement, and in an industry whose business model is precarious at best, this stuff matters. There’s a lot of good material out there struggling to get financing, and projects like the vain Vanity can eat away at audience support which, production costs pushing ticket prices higher than ever before, is something — tourists aside — the theatre badly needs to maintain.
September 18, 2016