Triumph of passion over worthiness
Charles Spencer for The Times reviews Ragtime at Piccadilly Theatre.
This is a terrible time to be opening a big, bold, worryingly humour-free American musical.
In days of crisis, theatregoers either stay at home or seek out unashamedly escapist fare. Ragtime, in contrast, is dark, tragic and desperately in earnest. Worse still, when insufferably smug bien-pensants regard Bush's America as every bit as evil as Saddam's Iraq, and appeasement is suddenly a cardinal virtue, this is a show that celebrates the robust values of the land of the free.
Yet Ragtime deserves to succeed. Yes, it's po-faced, yes, it's excessively politicaly correct, yes, it often lacks the fleetness and wit of the music it celebrates. But this is a show blessed with real heart, great songs and superb performances. Ragtime may be hard work at times, but it richly repays the effort. click for more