The Top Flops: 10 West End Musicals You… Probably Haven’t Heard Of
Not all West End musicals are big hits, some end before they even really get started! We’ve ranked 10 of the shortest running musicals of all time!
Let us know if anyone out there has actually seen or heard of any of these shows! If you have, did these West End musicals deserve to be cut short?
Which Witch (1992) 10 weeks Which Witch, an “Operamusical” opened at the Piccadilly Theatre in London on October 22, 1992 and ran for only 76 performances. The critics ripped the musical apart, describing it as “the second worst West End musical of all time”.
Gone With the Wind (2008) 7 weeks Adapted from the 1939 book, the musical opened at the West End’s New London Theatre in April 2008. Critics’ reviews were mixed but, the show closed in June of the same year.
Someone Like You (1990) 4 weeks The musical opened at The Strand Theatre to solid reviews. The show centres around Abigail who goes to America with her son in search of her estranged husband, a priest. The show is set in Virginia, just after the Civil War. The show closed because the producer was in serious financial trouble and as his assets were frozen, the show instantly closed, after a month’s run.
By Jeeves (1975) 4 weeks Riding high on the success of Joseph and Jesus Christ Superstar, all set for an up and coming touring revival, Andrew Lloyd Webber embarked on a musical version of P.G. Wodehouse’s ‘Jeeves’ series of books. The reviews were harsh and blamed the lack of character development and its lack of comedy. The show opened on the 24th April, and closed a month later.
Imagine This (2008) 4 weeks This musical set in Warsaw, Germany during World War 2 opened in November 2008 and closed a month later. The reviews blamed it’s “trivialising of the holocaust” for its poor reception. It wasn’t helped that it opened 6 weeks after Britain announced it had entered recession.
Behind the Iron Mask (2005) 3 weeks Loosely based on The Man in the Mask, Behind the Iron Mask opened to almost instant, unanimous, awful reviews. The Guardian’s Lyn Gardner said of the show, “I would quite happily have volunteered for death myself to help speed things up.” (Ouch!) The show closed three weeks into its run, blaming the economic climate.
Too Close to the Sun (2009) 2 weeks Reviews of this musical were unfavourable and the planned 8 week run closed 6 weeks early! Set in 1961, Idaho, the story was the fictional account of writer, Ernest Hemingway’s last five days before his death.
The Fields of Ambrosia (1996) 2 weeks Based on the 1970 film The Traveling Executioner set in the deep South in 1918, The Fields of Ambrosia was said to be too distasteful and audiences weren’t ready to enjoy a black comedy that featured heavy violence. The show closed at the Aldwych Theatre after just 23 performances.
Murderous Instincts (2004) 1 week Less than a week after it opened to damning reviews, the £2 million salsa-inspired musical closed. Set in Puerto Rico, the story revolved around a family who fought for their deceased father’s estate. Constant cast and creative sacking as well as script changes were said to be another cause.
Wilde (2004) 1 night If there was an award for the shortest run of a musical – this would be it. Wilde, a show celebrating the 150th year since the birth of Oscar Wilde closed after one performance. The Guardian’s review said, “You begin to wonder whether the sound system is being affected by the hefty rumbling of Oscar Wilde turning in his grave.” We assume the producers wanted to save even more embarrassment and close up shop, quick!