A couple of months ago I got an email asking if I fancied coming to England to see (the 2010 tour version of) Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jim Steinman’s Whistle Down the Wind. As the last time I’d seen that particular musical was over ten years ago, I decided that, what the heck, a trip to Southampton might actually be quite nice. That trip was last week.
Traveling to Southampton turned out to be quite easy: each day there are several direct flights from Amsterdam to Southampton, and a bus takes you straight to the city. The hotel I was staying was nothing special. It was perfectly alright for sleeping and leaving my luggage, although the bed was a bit shortish.
What I found out on my first day in Southampton (I flew in on friday and would be leaving on sunday) is that, unless you absolutely need to see every shopping street in the entire multiverse, there is no reason whatsoever to go there. I mean, the old bit of the town is nice enough, and you can take a look at the harbour, but for the rest it’s nothing special. While walking around a bit, I came past the theatre and decided on a whim to see if they had any tickets left for that night’s show. Which they did. On saturday I took the train to Portsmouth, met up with the people I would meet up with, had a look at the waterfront and some old boats there, and headed back to Southampton to see the show. Sunday I loitered around a bit in the sun—although the weather was absolutely gorgeous, I was still kinda surprised to see people walking around in t-shirts—picked up a couple of books, and went home.
Now then: Whistle Down the Wind. I’d seen it once, during it’s original West End run, back in 1999. This version was quite different for what I (vaguely) recall from that show and from the original cast recording, but it was still excellent. I’m not sure if I’m on board with all the changes that were made (like moving The Man’s big soliloquy from the first to the second act, replacing two songs that actually helped the story along with one that doesn’t, and the numerous reprises) and the choreography was a bit weird at times (let’s just say that I’m not that into interpretative dance, but still: why the zark were there dancing zombie-vampires on stage during a revival meeting?!) but overall: two thumbs up. The sets looked impressive, the cast was great, but Carly Bawden, who played the female lead, was awesome. A very fine production all around.
Do I have any regrets about going to Southampton to see Steinman’s other musical? No. Apart from Southampton being as dull as a very dull thing, it was awesome.