Rothschild & Sons at Park Theatre
Retooled from its Tony-award winning 1970 version (by the same duo behind Fiddler on the Roof), Rothschild & Sons is a homespun slice of history, mapping the Rothschild’s evolution from the Frankfurt ghettos of the 1770s to the global stock markets. While its pedigree might suggest a Hamilton-esque reinvention of an otherwise drily familiar slice of history, this is a slight, stilted musical, hamstrung by an episodic plot and forgettable numbers.
This re-edit was glimpsed off-Broadway in 2015, now much-touted by Park Theatre as the UK Musical premiere, with NYC prestige delivered in the form of original cast members Robert Cuccioli and Glory Crampton, who are game, deft performers, more vibrant than the underwritten characters they play. Indeed, each actor chews what parts of the drab scenery they can, but Rothschild & Sons’ creaky script and dense banking terminology work like speed brakes on its talented cast.
While its laudable premise (of a scrupulous paterfamilias tearing down the ghetto walls, to liberate the “Jews and aliens” within) merits retelling for a modern audience, this point isn’t reached until over three quarters of the way into the play. By the time the third or fourth ditty about small-time finance rolled round, the press night audience was shifting in their seats (not helped by the barely audible orchestra, occasionally lending the cast the air of impassioned karaoke performers, rather than the necessary heft for a grand musical).
Staid, routine, and with numbers that curiously blend into one another, Rothschild & Sons is one for fans of the genre, or of the period, only.
Photo: Pamela Raith
Rothschild & Sons is at Park Theatre from 24th January until 17th February 2018. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.
Watch the trailer for Rothschild & Sons here: