Stephen Ward The Musical

It may have recently closed on London’s West End, but I’ve just caught up with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s newest musical, Stephen Ward The Musical. At least the music. Having been to see the closing throws of Tim Rice’s version of From Here to Eternity recently, and having been quite impressed, I was hoping for much more from the Stephen Ward soundtrack.

I’ve listened through the musical a few times now on my daily cycle and just can’t get past how it sounds very much much like Lloyd Webber’s 1979 musical Tell Me on a Sunday. While this in itself is not necessarily a bad thing it does make what should be a fresh new piece feel tired and, at least as a stand-alone soundtrack, remarkably dated. While I appreciate that the subject of the show — the Profumo affair — happened at the start of the 1960s, and that the writers may well have been trying to reflect that in the sound of the musical numbers, at a time when musicals such as The Book of Mormon are commanding upwards of £150 for premium West End seats and selling out months in advance, Lloyd Webber’s score sounds as if it is aimed at audiences from another time. [read more]