The £6m musical I Can’t Sing, created by Comedian Harry Hill and a parody of the X Factor television programme, has flopped on the West End at the London Palladium, closing on May 10 after an opening just six weeks prior on March 26.
The closure is one of the biggest musical flops since last year’s Spice Girls musical Viva Forever, which lasted seven months and reportedly lost £5m. It’s easy to be cynical about the production’s source material, which has overstayed its welcome on prime-time TV in the eyes of many, yet the musical enjoyed a fairly positive press reception.
GTW’s own review was called off when the news of the closure broke, since it would no longer be open by the time the magazine went to press, but The Independent, The Telegraph and The Mirror all gave very positive reviews. Opinion was not unanimous however, with The Sunday Times calling it ‘Witless, infantile, noisy, embarrassing, derivative, shamelessly money- grubbing tripe.’
Rebecca Quigley, Chief Executive of the production company Stage Entertainment UK, said: “We are sad to be bringing I Can’t Sing to a close but are immensely proud to have co-produced the show. The West End can be an unpredictable place as the closure of a number of high- profile productions recently has shown.
“I Can’t Sing has had audiences on their feet night after night, four and five star reviews from the critics and an amazing company and creative team, but it seems that isn’t always enough.”
Nigel Hall, of Simon Cowell’s production company Syco Entertainment, said: “From the moment Harry Hill and Steve Brown told us their idea for I Can’t Sing we knew this was going to be a fun project. Alongside Stage Entertainment we’d like to thank the cast and crew who have worked so hard on this show. To everyone at Really Useful Theatres and the ever supportive staff at the London Palladium, and everyone involved in I Can’t Sing, I’d like to say a huge thanks and wish them the very best of luck with their next venture.”
Although theatre sales have done well throughout the recession, I Can’t Sing is not the only high-profile casualty. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Stephen Ward, based on the Profumo scandal, closed after less than four months, while Tim Rice’s From Here To Eternity closed on the same day after a six-month run.