Shoes - 2011 London Cast - Richard Thomas
Composer: Richard Thomas
Lyricist: Richard Thomas
Lyn Gardner in The Guardian had this to say about Shoes: The Musical:
Shoes makes the average episode of Sex and the City seem like Tolstoy. This two-hour peaen to footwear – from Louboutins to flippers, from Jimmy Choos to Birkenstocks – is so relentlessly bland, it is hard to believe Richard Thomas and Stephen Mear are behind it. Thomas, after all, is the creator and composer of the satirical and groundbreaking Jerry Springer: The Opera, while Mear's witty choreography has lit up shows such as Hello Dolly! and Me and My Girl. It is enough to test the patience of even the most devoted theatre-goer, let alone shoe fetishist.
In the programme, Thomas congratulates himself on making a 15-minute pitch for this show to Sadler's Wells, "the greatest dance house in the world", and getting them to buy and produce it. Fools. The show does not seem to have developed beyond that pitch. It comes with a patina of expensive gloss, animation and a giant shoe-cum-stage, but there is a poverty of ideas. Although the cast of singers and dancers are top notch, it feels as if they are singing and dancing a high-end shopping list, not a show. There is no texture, no layering, no obvious point to a piece that shies away from any real examination of the relationship between sex, desire and consumerism.
There are glimpses of wit: Imelda Marcos's defence that "I did it for tourism", and the nuns whose mass is a tribute to Jimmy Choos. There is an engaging comic sequence about cursed wedding shoes and a Cinderella where it is happy never after. But the glibness is relentless, and the music and choreography never sharp or memorable enough to make you forgive the stereotypical attitudes, particularly towards women. A well-made shoe is a beautiful thing, but this one is sloppily crafted.