The Eoin Colfer co-written new musical, The Lords of Love at the Jerome Hynes Theatre at Wexford Opera House is possibly the funniest musical I have ever seen. I laughed so much that I thought I was at a stand-up comedy show with cracking pastiche songs full of fake showbiz sincerity and headline seeking routines to bolster up a shaky or fading fame. It would be easy to like this exciting show to a Neil Simon comedy like The Odd Couple, The Sunshine Boys (perhaps Sunset Boys) or Spamalot (Fowl-alot), Send in the Clowns (Don’t bother their here) but it is a lot funnier than any of these genre shows where even some jokes rhyme (I was so low, I drank prosecco).
The Lords of Love is a time-shifting reunion show in a possibly run down kitschy night club setting where John O’Donoghue’s animal-skin panelled cocktail bar is a joke in itself, where the show must go on no matter who looks after the cocker spaniel or what the Irish joke is. The lords are two Irish crooners who came to novelty fame (like Crystal Swing) in Las Vegas and on TV (The Hal Sharkey Show) with a crazy Christmas song and an hilarious Oirish tune – My Love for you is Green (ref: Foster & Allen) – no fairer Coleen at all at all, in a place of broken dreams, a shadow of a man, where my love for you is green.
Jack is Jewish and now a successful fruit and veg wholesaler and Buddy is a slightly bitter dreamer who took years to drink a problem out of his system. He name checks Sinatra, Dino and Perry Como making him more pathetic than he really is. Ivy Tudor is the top banana vocalist. They both love and envy and join onstage for a ten minute routine providing Bono is in the audience. It all builds up to the biz showbiz finish with lots of pizzazz and not enough bile for this reviewer and it even has a disco megamix.
Eoin Colfer wrote book and lyrics with music and additional lyrics from ace composer Liam Bates and other work from Cyril Murphy. The songs are great pastiche like Karate Chop for a Kung Fu fighting. Darkness Is a Stranger is a powerful girl song from a belter of a singer Aileen Mythen as Ivy Tudor (pity about her wigs). At times I thought the two leads were too young for the show but it is that flashback style, George Lawlor was ring ding dinger as Jack and Tony Carty was a wow with amazement as Buddy. I loved their Blues Brothers power ballads and the rhymes are excellent especially the way Colfer fits – assholery – into a line.
Noel McDonough directed with style and the confidence to let the comedy reign supreme. The show is sold out but no doubt will return after the summer and might even make it to the Theatre Royal, as Ben Barnes was in the opening night audience.