When change comes too late
And the euphoria a good show provides is like a pill you love to take, but when crushed can prove hard to swallow. As such I have been reluctant to formalise an opinion on the NT's latest musical wonder-hit, Caroline, or Change, from Tony Kushner, hoping it too would somehow change. Recipient of a five-star review in the Guardian, and this week's Time Out 'Show of the Week', it is with fear in my bleeding (and blogging) heart that I stray from solidarity.
Set in Louisiana in 1963, the play's title stems from a dispute about coins between Caroline, a middle-aged black maid, and her liberal Jewish employer; but the change of the title also harkens the change in America in the year of Kennedy's assassination. Sound engaging? What if I told you that everything was sung in operatic format, including (inane) arias from people singing on behalf of dishwashers and dryers. Although unlike operas, which even in English often require super titles, every word can be understood. And in the first act this was too often the problem. But mercifully the second half was a transforming improvement, and Tonya Pinkins as Caroline made the score finally soar.
That withstanding, I still left feeling the moment for real change passed before the interval. But then again anything at the National can only ever be of relative disappointment. Book tickets here. Because when hype abounds, it is often worth the change to decide for yourself.
Running to 4 January 2007.