• London Road: the ‘irruption of the real’ and haunting utopias in the verbatim musical

      Zavros, Demetris; Rodosthenous, George (Routledge, 2017-08-15)
      The use of documentary material appeared in musical theatre at least as far back as Joan Littlewood's Oh! What a Lovely War, but it was not until London Road when the potential for a more experimental approach to the 'setting' of verbatim material was used in musical theatre. This chapter offers a slightly alternative perspective into the performance based on the belief that 'the reworking of speech into sung tunes' does not signal an absence as much as an 'irruption of the real' as discussed by Lehmann. It compares the stage and film versions of the musical in relation to their contiguity to the 'real' vs a utopian sensibility that accompanies the more traditionally escapist approaches to the film musical. The film audience becomes less able to viscerally and experientially appreciate the connection between the original and the aesthetic reconstitution that Lehmann so profoundly connects to the 'irruption of the real' in performance.