Opened 19 Nov 2008
Written: Music by Shuki Levy, Book & lyrics by Glenn Berenbeim & David Goldsmith
Directed: Timothy Sheader
Cast: Peter Polycarpou (Daniel Warshowsky)
Synopsis: Set in Poland during 1942, a group of actors in the Warsaw Ghetto stage plays to inspire hope and optimism within their community. However, with rumours of the Final Solution in the air, their play merges with the reality they are trying to escape and a dramatic love story unfolds.
What the popular press had to say.....
MICHAEL BILLINGTON for THE GUARDIAN says, "They said it couldn't be done: a musical about the Warsaw ghetto. And, now that I've seen it, I know that they were right...I don't doubt the good intentions of all concerned, but the talent is simply not up to the task." BENEDICT NIGHTINGALE for THE TIMES says, "Last night Glenn Berenbeim’s book began by making me feel my imagination might take fire, only to douse it with the sort of formulaic nonsense it has resisted a zillion times before." The lyricist, David Goldsmith, may have the chutzpah to rhyme nature with nomenclature, but he can be pretty slushy too. Similarly, Shuki Levy’s score can handle the sad or upbeat...But it never has the minor-key harshness the situation demands." DAVID BENEDICT for VARIETY says, "For all the good intentions, tension barely surfaces all night. The problem is not just that almost everyone knows the ultimate ending but that the schematic and predictable writing barely elicits a single surprise...Writing problems extend to the score. Even though one character sings ironically of 'a penchant for schmaltz,' David Goldsmith's lyrics are largely free of it. But, like the music by Israeli composer Shuki Levy, they lack the spark of individuality." NICHOLAS DE JONGH for THE EVENING STANDARD says, "Offensively banal, soft-pop music that limps in train with the fatuities and ineptitude of David Goldsmith’s trivial lyrics...the music and songs of Imagine This never do justice to its terrifying theme." CHARLES SPENCER for THE DAILY TELEGRAPH says, "The production values, though far from extravagant, are effective enough, and though there are no star names, the performances are impressive...Imagine This must finally be judged a manipulative and morally dubious show."
Production photo by Tristram Kenton