Rothschild and Sons theatre review: A rather lacklustre musical | Theatre | Entertainment
From Frederic Morton’s book about the Rothschild dynasty, composer Jerry Bock and lyricist Sheldon Harnick attempt to dramatise their rise from the Jewish ghetto in 18th-century Frankfurt to a position of financial power and political influence in Europe.
It is a tall order for librettist Sherman Yellen and he almost pulls it off.
But much is lost in the race through the family history as Gutle Rothschild (Glory Crampton) pops out five sons in quick succession to assist husband Mayer (Robert Cuccioli) in his quest for world domination through wealth.
The lyrics and dialogue outclass the tunes which are very old-fashioned if not undistinguished.
Mayer’s response to the biblical admonition about rich men is typically amusing: “When you are rich enough you find tiny camels and enormous needles.”
But there is not enough dramatic structure nor enough memorable songs to support the raft of good performances from Cuccioli, Crampton, Gary Trainor as the most risk-taking son Nathan, and Tony Timberlake as a capricious Prince William.
An interesting history lesson but a rather lacklustre musical.