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May 1, 2014


Everyday I cycle down Argyll Street past The Palladium Theatre, and whilst having one eye on the road to make sure I’m not mowed down heading the wrong way down a one-way street, I always notice the theatre and what is going on. Over recent years there’s been a raft of different shows come and go and I do always wonder why The Palladium, unlike some other theatres, looks to put shows on for a limited period only.


The latest and probably most high profile show to launch in sometime is ‘I Can’t Sing’, which pokes fun at the talent show format and it’s most well-known svengali Simon Cowell. As they were preparing to open the show the signage got bigger and brasher and the concept became clearer. So far, so bad, you would think but when it opened it was to rave reviews and it looked like a show based on an ironic look at a 21st century cultural phenomenon might just work. It worked for Jerry Springer so I guess why not for Simon Cowell? 


This week ‘I Can’t Sing’ announced it would be closing down due to terrible ticket sales and very little interest from the general public. I guess what may have been the difference between Jerry Springer and I Can’t Sing is that Jerry was targeted at a much more niche audience whilst ‘ICS’ was clearly aimed at the mainstream.


At first I was surprised by the announcement but as I heard more about the show and thought about it I realised it really isn’t surprising that the great British public aren’t interested. At the heart of the show’s problem is the very basis that made it interesting in the first place… irony. However clever, poking fun at the great British public week after week… are those very same people not being duped by the hype and publicity of a well oiled money making machine?   But clearly this isn’t something we would want to admit to. Generally we don’t want to think about being duped and manipulated even if we know its happening.


Whilst irony is a favourite of the Capital’s intelligencia, it appears that it holds very little appeal to the majority of the population and for that I think we have to be pleased. Wouldn’t it be a negative world full of cynicism if we all lived our lives looking down on our own actions and those of others?

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