A Shiny Life For Me!

a personal review blog by Bianca

Mrs Doubtfire

Mrs Doubtfire
16 May 2023
Shaftesbury Theatre
4.0 out of 5.0 stars

Another addition to the recent explosion of turning 90s movies into musicals, Mrs. Doubtfire has landed in the West End. Of course I had to find out if it holds up, both to the film itself, as well as today’s standards that are very different from what passed as great entertainment in three decades ago.

I did very much love the film back when it came out, in part due to its stellar casting, but in hindsight there are some issues that probably wouldn’t stand up to scrutiny from a 2020s lens. Still, I was willing to give it a shot and see if it’s any good.

The staging is of course worthy of a big West End production, with bright colours, brilliant dance numbers, and costume choices that are both close to the film as well as somewhat modernised. Plot wise, the musical stays quite true to the source material, with only a few changes here and there to update things a bit, including giving the children phones and ipads, including social media references, and changing Miranda’s career choices and a less problematic love interest.

The first act is filled with very flat jokes that do remind heavily of 90s humour, but not in a good way. Surprisingly, even the most low-blow garnered laughs from some people in the audience. Personally, I found it very slow going and setting the bar way too low.

The second act is where it really picks up! Faster paced scenes, less flat jokes, better songs. This is where the musical really shines and the little updates absolutely pay off!

While none of the songs particularly stand out, they do overall follow a theme and fit well with the production. The one thing that did detract quite a bit from the performance was the awkward rigidity of Mrs. Doubtfire’s mask. Even from the cheap seats, it felt a bit too close to uncanny valley that even during songs and conversations, the lips did not move at all, and the eyes looked like wonky holes peering out of a mask.

Still, it is a successful musicalification of a classic film, and definitely fun to watch.

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