The Daily Telegraph April 24th 2008 As the knives get sharpened for 'Gone with The Wind' Dominic Cavendish tales a look back at the history of stage disasters. 1. CARRIE 1988 This atrocious adaption of Stephen Kings novel- taken by the RSC to Broadway where it folded after 21 performances- remains the primus inter pares of the musical flop. Kings story of a menstruating schoolgirl with telekenetic powers and a mad religious mother was served up with a ghastly gloop of rock pop and fake blood. It was hailed as 'a resounding istake' in England and went on to be ferociously panned in New York, losing a neat $8M. 2. WHICH WITCH 1992 The brainchild of Benedicte Adrian and Ingrid Bjornov -members of Norwegian pop group Dollie Deluxe- this 'opera musical' was a cod 16th century tale of a thwarted passion that culminated in the young Italian heroine being burnt at the stake as a witch. The King and Queen of Norway visited the Piccadilly to lend their support to 'the most heavily panned London stage show in a generation' - but it folded after 10 weeks. "flops don't come much floppier than this' said The Daily Telegraph. 3. BERNADETTE 1990 Described as 'one of the most bizarre and spectacular failures in London musical theatre history', the show = naively expected to pack out the Dominion -was based on Bernadette Soubirous, a young peasant girl who has visions of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes in 1858. It was written by a piano tuner and his wife, financed by readers of The Daily Mirror and an ex chauffeur and, astoundingly, the Pope blessed the cast. To no avail, it lasted 3 weeks. 4. THE FIELDS OF AMBROSIA 1996 A jaunty, taste free US musical about capital punishment, set in the deep south in 1918. The here, a state executioner, falls for a German femme fatal he's due to fry - and eventually sings the final number from his own electric chair. The Daily Mail described it as 'the biggest turkey,the floppiest flopperoo, the greatest slice of ham to hit the West End stage in years. It didn't last a fortnight! 5. JEEVES 1975 Even Andrew Lloyd Webberhas his off days. Riding high after 'Jesus Christ Superstar', the composer turned to Alan Ayckbourn to help bring the comic charm of Jeeves and Wooster to the stage, but the 'heavy handed affair' was denounced as 'like a dream of all the Wodehouse novels combined in the ultimate ghastly weekend'. It lasted 38 performances. 6. MOBY DICK 1992 'Sixth form school girls perform Melvilles novel in their school swimming pool doesnt sound like a recipe for success does it? And it wasnt! Scantily clad females, 'Dick' jokes and a swiftly forgettable score saw this Cameron Mackintosh extravaganza being harpooned by critics. It survived 15 weeks at the Piccadilly before sinking below the waves. 7. TWANG! 1965 Lionel Bart gave the world 'Oliver!'. Five years later he also gave the world this troubled ' burlesque' version of Robin Hood. Famed director Joan Littlewood abandoned ship after the first regional tryout in Manchester and Bart, against advice from Noel Coward, invested his own fortune in the show. 'The worst musical for years' chortled the critics. Bart was left in financial ruin. 8. THE HUNTING OF THE SNARK 1991 Mike Batt, the producer of The Wombles, gambled heavily and lost on his lavish adaption of Lewis Carrolls nonsense epic poem. Batt wrote the book, the lyrics and music and even gave Kenny Everett his West End moment as the Billiard Marker. a reported £2.1M was spent on the show which successfully emptied the Prince Edward and vanished after 7 weeks. 9. CHILDREN OF EDEN 1991 John Caird and composer Stephen Schwartz (who gave the world 'Godspell') turned the Old testament, from the Creation to the Flood, into a biblical concept show and created a holy mess, by most accounts. 'Clearly God is miffed/ He's left us all a drift' ran one lyric, summing up the ill fated enterprise, which was cast out of the Prince Edward after 10 weeks. 10. OSCAR! 2005 Former radio 1 DJ Mike Read's bio-musical account of the life of Oscar Wilde achieved special notoriety for surviving just one proper performance -press night- at the Shaw Theatre. Read, The daily Telegraph concluded, passes golden genius through the filter of presumptuous mediocrity and produces over two hours of leaden dross' ------------------------------ ------------------------------ Makes for light reading but i'm sure everyone has their top ten list. I saw all but two of these shows! Boy i've got great taste!!!
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