Newsies review – ‘tis the season for Disney musical about industrial relations

5 months ago 51

Newspaper hawkers, oregon “newsies”, beryllium to a bygone property but the issues successful this US philharmonic astir their 1899 onslaught are today’s headlines. Quandaries of concern action, the conflict for unionisation and crises of homelessness and kid exploitation diagnostic successful the story, based connected a 1992 movie flop starring a teenage Christian Bale.

In the philharmonic – which reaches the UK 10 years aft Broadway – we find Joseph Pulitzer, steadfast of the New York World, callously delighting successful a “genius” program to summation profits by raising the terms newsies wage for the papers they sell. (The crippled muddies past arsenic the hike came during a roar successful circulation owed to the Spanish-American warfare truthful was eased by accrued income for hawkers.) The trim to newsies’ net is neatly contemplated from his barber’s seat but arsenic Pulitzer, Cameron Blakely is fixed small much than a panto villain to play.

His adversary is Jack Kelly, charismatically played by Michael Ahomka-Lindsay, who leads an service of hard-knock orphans with a Miss Hannigan-esque warden nemesis. This being a Disney philharmonic there’s cute small Les (played contiguous by Oliver Gordon), who says the darnedest things, but speech from his member Davey (Ryan Kopel) and amiable Crutchie (Matthew Duckett) the newsboys are thinly drawn. A cadre of newsgirls aboriginal tempest the stage, nary fixed a important role.

The Newsies formed  with Michael Ahomka-Lindsay, connected  the close    successful  the backmost  row, arsenic  Jack Kelly.
The Newsies formed with Michael Ahomka-Lindsay, connected the close successful the backmost row, arsenic Jack Kelly. Photograph: Johan Persson

An energetic ensemble charges successful and retired of the audience, swings connected elephantine lightbulbs and covers a signifier level smudged with newsprint and dominated by decorator Morgan Large’s scaffold acceptable combining New York occurrence escapes and washing lines strewn with agelong johns. The film’s sepia palette is swapped for an inkier plan with sparing splashes of colour successful the costumes by Natalie Pryce.

Director Matt Cole builds a Jerome Robbins-style choreography from clenched fists and delicate jetés, stamped feet and dizzying pirouettes. It creates a consciousness of corporate action, and the flashier moves reflector their wisecracks, but these occasionally acrobatic routines are oddly unemotional. There is simply a fistful of soaring anthems (stirring euphony by Alan Menken, generic motivational lyrics by Jack Feldman, brassy punch from Nigel Lilley’s orchestra) and beardown solos by Moya Angela and by Bronté Barbé arsenic a rookie newsman who falls for Kelly. Barbé’s screwball vigor matches Harvey Fierstein’s snappy book, which could person deepened their romance.

The complexities of the newsies’ conflict whitethorn consciousness under-explored for adults, but arsenic a primer connected unionisation successful our wintertime of discontent it’s a refreshing proposition for younger audiences. And the triumph of comradeship against firm self-interest fits the play of goodwill.

Read Entire Article