John Bowles is a respected tv presenter, theatre and concert performer.
The Arts Theatre, Soho.
July 4th, 2014
A musical workshop of a musical in development.
Friday July 4th saw the workshop staging of a musical called ‘Hoods’. As if often the case, when you go to a reading or workshop, I knew nothing about this piece. Based on the ‘brat-pack’ movie ‘Robin and the 7 Hoods’ starring Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Sammy Davis Jnr & Dean Martin, the movie featured a score by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen and gave birth to the hit song ‘My Kind of Town’.
This is a labour of love for Drew Jaymson, who adapted the script along with Chris Blackwood. He now has Craig Revel Horwood (Director) and Josephine Buchan (Producer) on board. Craig’s enthusiasm and energy alone could get this show up and running. While speaking with him before the performance, he told me that there had been some longstanding issues over rights, but after some lengthy delays, they are all go. And if this workshop production is any indication, then this show could go far.
This is an interesting piece because it features many well-loved popular tunes inserted into the script sitting alongside new songs; the old classics are creatively arranged and re-worked, but to my delight, the really strong musical moments were provided by the new material. There are many, very good songs, written by Jaymson, Kevan Frost and John Hogg. Listen to one of the songs here:
The film (original script by David R. Schwartz) has had previous adaptations, one as recently as 2010 in the US, when a book by Rupert Holmes, was given the full treatment using Cahn and Van Heusen songs.
Sitting down to watch the workshop performance I was worried that the subject matter is a little dated, the genre best left to the Frank, Sammy and Bing, but i was thoroughly entertained. I commend the creative team for presenting a well-developed script, with good construction, and a promising score. The cast did a tremendous job with so little time it was amazing to see such a polished performance.
The show seems a little long, but Craig did say that the objective was to put it all on it’s feet and see what they had. I say, “What they have has great potential.”
Check out the website here where you can hear teasers of the original songs: