Theatre: Fing's Ain't Wot They Used T'Be
Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'Be is not so much a musical but a music hall revue of songs with a very loose excuse for a plot. It feels a little like a downmarket Guys and Dolls (or at least one transferred to the East End). There are busty prostitutes, gamblers, fights and a sissy male... But not much of a story. That is not to say that it is not rather enjoyable with the songs being a pastiche of music hall styles where humour and melodrama are more important than characterisations or driving forward a plot. This current production at the Union Theatre has an energetic cast and is a slick production. It sounds good too, with a small orchestra that is supplemented by the actors playing instruments as well.
It is amazing to think that Lionel Bart had written this the year before Oliver! as this is not in the same league. But perhaps that isn't the point. This is much more of a sing along. It's tempting to sing along at times and I am sure @Johnnyfox was doing it every now and then. Grab a beer and go see it and have a good time. It runs until June.
Just brush up on your cockney slang before-hand as there is not a glossary in the programme. Interval and post show musings follow...