A Shiny Life For Me!

a personal review blog by Bianca

Opening Night

Opening Night
30 May 2024
Gielgud Theatre
1.0 out of 5.0 stars

Opening Night. What a mess. I had heard that the run of this play was cut by two months, and that reviews were devastatingly bad, but I was still curious enough to go, along with two friends, to see it for myself. In this instance, I wish I could get my time back instead…

The play is based on the 1977 film of the same name. It revolves around a production of the play The Second Woman as it races towards opening night. Followed by a documentary crew, the production struggles massively as leading actress Myrtle grapples with the challenges of ageing and the pressures of performing in a new play without understanding the motives and behaviours of the woman she is playing. As rehearsals progress, Myrtle becomes increasingly haunted by the death of a young fan, leading her to confront her own mortality and question the meaning of her life and career.

While the summary sounds somewhat interesting, this production is the most unhinged celebration of misogyny I have ever seen on stage. Defining women by their age, clearly implying that a woman over 40 is not worth anything in the world, threatened by younger women who will take their place, hyper-sexualising a seventeen year old girl, weighing a woman’s value by her relationships to men and whether she is a mother, including the sentence “she wasn’t even a housewife!”, having a woman faint on stage because she was too emotional, delusions from too much emotionality, an older woman having to murder an entirely imaginary young girl to get her womanhood back, you name it, the cliche is in there, and executed extremely poorly. The story makes no sense, none of the women in it seem like real characters, but rather as poor pastiches in the style of “men badly writing women”., there is even a scene of one woman asking another repeatedly how old she really was.

On top of all that mess, it’s a musical. Completely unnecessarily. With extremely poor, boring, and same-y songs that do not work, nor add anything to the story. While the actors definitely threw themselves into their roles and tried their very best, the play is a heaping pile of rubbish that needs to be burned to the ground.

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