Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The End Of The West End

I realise the subject of this blog is ridiculously inevitable. If you have seen any of my tweets today then you will realise what has been winding me up. You'll know that a certain news story has got my goat, sheep and cow and has caused me to endlessly rant about it via social networking. Or, if for some reason you haven't noticed or you don't happen to follow me on Twitter (fools) then I'm sorry to break the bad news to you that you have missed a day of me whining about Chris Moyles being cast in the stadium tour of Jesus Christ Superstar. If you were unaware of this news, I'm sorry. Sit yourself down, give yourself a few minutes to recover, BACS me £1000 and then read on...

Checking the news first thing in the morning is never a good idea. Rarely do we wake up to the news that the government are giving away free money/ice cream/kittens so it's generally a bad way to start your day. However, it's normally news about famine or war but today's news was far worse. Today's news made me question humanity AND my career. The news that probably one of the most idiotic and annoying people to clumsily grace our planet has been cast in an acting and musical theatre role is tragic. It makes our industry into even more of a mockery than when I spent a whole summer playing the part of a camp man. It's that bad, people.

The casting of celebrities into plays is sadly not a new thing anymore. As soon as someone realised that you could put someone off the telly on to a stage and people would pay ridiculous amonts of money to see it, the West End has been ruined. Take yourself down the West End, push a few tourists out of the way and have a look. Every bloody poster is plasterded with the inane grinning face of someone from that little electrical box that we desperately stare at every evening in the hope that it might one day produce something good. And it's because of this that it's almost impossible to get a job in theatre now. These so-called stars have now taken the jobs of the top actors meaning that they now get the supporting roles. The supporting actors have now been pushed into the supernumerary parts and now the rest of us have been pushed into waitressing.

But what's even more upsetting is that Chris Moyles isn't even an actor. He's not a singer. He's not a performer. He's a buffoon that has somehow elbowed his way into an already oversubscribed industry. And like with everything else in the world of acting, the behaviour we have to put up with wouldn't be tolerated in any other industry. Would they give Holly Willoughby the role of a GP just so it would encourage more men to go to the doctors? No, of course they wouldn't. I mean, I'm sure that's mainly because who would give up a job of spending every morning with Philip Schofield but you understand what point I'm getting at. But at least the other stars of the West End are performers. They've kind of earned their dues and although they have annoyingly fast-tracked their way into a job that we have all worked very hard to not get, at least they pretty much know what they're doing. But what does has Chris Moyles done to get the job that I know a trillion actors would love the chance to play? Bombard radio waves with his incessant chatterings? Make terrible game shows that should never have seen the light of day? Appear on a celebrity version of Supermarket Sweep (thanks Wikipedia.) What started out as an interesting sounding show that would be starring the incredible and exceptionally talented Tim Minchin has now become the worst sounding project since Rock of Ages...

This now also means that a strand of the acting industry that was already pretty tough to get into has become even harder. Once you just had to be the son or daughter or best friend of the director. But now you have to somehow get famous first by making a complete fool of yourself on television in any show of your choice and then wait for the West End castings to come flooding in. As a career plan, it wasn't one I particularly had in mind. I had one in mind that contains a fairy knocking at my door before the month is out and handing me the role of a lifetime (and a million pounds) on a silver platter. Thanks Andrew Lloyd Webber. Thanks very much.

I saw someone post on Twitter today that at least this casting would help bring more people to the show and that it would mean ticket sales would be high. This means that instead of quality casting, directors have instead decided to create freakshows to ensure that not every musical ends the way of Streets of Dreams which has had to be postponed until the end of the year while they desperately work out how to make it any good. So, this week not only have we had to deal with the news that acting jobs are going to the director's friends and family but they are now also going to hateful celebrities. That's the way it's going folks. Soon Downton Abbey will contain a cast made up of Made in Chelsea stars, Jeremy Clarkson and the editor's sleazy second uncle. When the ancient Greeks invented acting, I'm pretty sure they never imagined this...


  1. AL-W will get an awful lot of free publicity from the (rigged) TV show to find the person to play Jesus (it has already been decided - just ask people in the know) and from Moyles talking about it on his radio show, which will no doubt justify him taking a large slice of the wages budget.

  2. You only have to see Omid Djali in 'What the Butler Saw' to know how badly things can go wrong when you cast someone for the wrong reasons. Billing ton and Spencer seem to concur and the show's producers are giving away tickets in an effort to make things look less disastrous.