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Review - Stand Tall, Landor Theatre London

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear... where do I start with this?
According to the synopsis, "Stand Tall was primarily written to inspire those people that have been on the end of a vicious tongue or a physical assault to reinforce that bullying is unacceptable and that you can stand tall, break the cycle and make things better."

Unfortunately after sitting through this, I feel like I've been bullied, and this musical is already broken and needs to be made better! I hate writing negative reviews, but I've not seen a show this bad since... well I've not seen a show this bad.

It all went a bit Pete Tong as soon as the band started, they sound like they are sitting in a biscuit tin five miles away, the sound design (or lack of it by Edward Lewis) is pitiful to say the least. There is no EQ on the electric drums, it's difficult to hear vocals as they are muffled in the hand held radio mics, again with no EQ to get the bright tones of the performers voices... I could go on but I won't.
Credit where it is due to Musical Director Dean Austin and the band, they are working hard with a very limited score of very dull songs which don't do anything to get the emotions pumping... so hats off to them.

The lighting and set look like they are from a school production, and a very bad one at that. Awful paintwork on the light brown staging which is easily noticed in the lighting, giving a jaundice look to both actors and scenery.
Compliment this with the most uninspiring costumes - Princess Mia THE most un-princess-like Princess in the world, ever (it makes Sarah Ferguson look good!).

Acting and singing wise, most of the company are good to watch. Natasha Barnes stands out with a great vocal range when she can be heard through the sound system, along with the Black Sheep of the group Keisha Amponsa-Banson who is a great actress, doing a very good job with the most dire script that has been given to her.

Lee Wyatt-Buchan has written the book and lyrics for this one, in the programme it says Lee "...is a newcomer to the world of theatre, offering a raw and edgy approach to his work." This isn't the best offering in the world, poorly written, no structure, badly directed by Simon Greiff, who has made the actors use hand held radio mics throughout the show, which limits the performance and all the emotion is given to a microphone instead of the audience.

That’s all I can write really. I’ll never get back the time I was trapped in the theatre; I cannot give this most un-musical of musicals any more credit than this.

If Charles Spencer from the Telegraph was watching this, then Stand Tall would make Rock Of Ages an Olivier Award winner!

Stand Tall plays at the Landor Theatre until.. oh, I don’t know. Save your time and money, really.

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