From the information on the website about Doodle I had high hopes – it sounded fun and although choosing the comedy route to tackle the serious subject of World War II, I thought a comedy musical would be engaging. Sadly I was wrong. It was well-directed by Jonathan Moore and well-acted by the cast but unfortunately, they weren’t given much to go with by writer Jonathan Kydd. The multiple parts each actor had to play were covered well, and the dancers did a good job with choreographer Gianna Burright utilising the space available well.
There are some parts that were sung well, Sooz Kempner as Weaver was the standout for me, but there were also some that, although not terrible to listen to, singing didn’t appear to be their forte. Doodle had me smiling at times but there was far too big a gap between these smiles. I didn’t once laugh-out-loud, and for a comedy musical that’s a worry.
To be honest I found Doodle almost insulting to such a serious topic. It wasn’t written well enough to forgive the completely ridiculous storyline (only almost insulting because it was so ridiculous) that just doesn’t hold the attention for longer than 10 minutes, after that, I realised all hope was lost and it didn’t seem like it would improve. Thankfully, the cast did take the mickey out of themselves and it was clearly intended to be whimsical.
Well-directed, well-acted but that’s just not enough when the material isn’t very good. Sorry, but I can’t recommend anyone to go and see this one.
Review by Lee Cogger
Doodle – The Musical! is a new all-singing-all-dancing comedy musical written by American Idol’s Andy Street and actor Jonathan Kydd, and directed by Olivier award nominee Jonathan Moore. The show is a loving pastiche of World War II action movies, with cameo impersonations including Charles Bronson, David Niven, and Sam Kydd, Jonathan’s father, who was in 240 films between 1945 and 1982 (more than any other English actor) in dozens of which he played members of the armed forces.
It is the year 1940. Britain is at war with Nazi Germany. Barnes Wallis, the eventual inventor of the world famous Bouncing Bomb (as featured in the film The Dam Busters – you know, the black and white one where the bomb bounces into the dams?) is kidnapped by the Nazis to build them a Bouncing Submarine. Consequently, a Z team of not-very-good misfits, (like in The Dirty Dozen) including a Mexican cigar salesman, a Sherlock Holmes impersonator, and a ventriloquist is recruited to go on a secret mission to discover whether the threat is real – or just a ridiculous joke. Once they’re on their way, it’s discovered that the threat is so serious, it has the potential to lose Britain the war. (CUE HUGE DOOM LADEN CHORD)
Writer Jonathan Kydd
Music Andy Street
Director Jonathan Moore
Cast Suzanna Kempner, Paul Croft, Reggie Oliver, Luke Farrugia, Evan Boutsov, Sebastain Kainth, Paul Ryan, Paul Storrier, Conor Cook and Michael Sadler.
Performance Dates January 11th 2017 – January 28th 2018
Running Time 120 mins (not including interval)
Waterloo East Theatre, Brad Street, London SE1 8TN