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razzle dazzling them

IT'S the singing that puts me off.

Why are they singing? I mean, it's a musical, I get that, but why are they singing? No-one bursts into song in real life unless they've had too many jars and are about to wobble flat on their face in the street, or they're at the karaoke. Neither is recommended.

And nor are musicals. If there's one thing I hate in life, it's a musical. Unfortunately, they're everywhere. Particularly at the moment as the film version of Les Miserables arpeggios itself all over the big screen.

That's another thing about musicals: there's no boudaries. Whoever it is who decides these things, the Gods of Entertainment, seem determined to take that which rightly belongs in its own genre: book, pop music, film, and stick it on a stage with a leitmotif and jazz hands. Then, not content with interfering where they don't belong, they peel musicals off the stage and transplant them to the (mostly) noble world of cinema, like Les Mis. Some people are excited about seeing Russell Crowe and Ally G do singing. Sod off, I say, you don't belong here.

The genre is too easy to take too far. We Will Rock You, ok. Mammia Mia!, alright. But then everyone wants a slice of the box-office pie. Before you know it you have the sensory horror of the Spice Girls in Viva Forever! Desperately Seeking Blondie. Never Forget. Tonight's The Night, featuring Rod Stewart's greatest hits and a spurious plot. Queen the musical (very, very frightening). Thriller.

Films: Ghost, Shrek, Billy Elliot, The Lion King. Books: Mathilda, Oliver! (Grim!), the Diary of Anne Frank. Yes, that's right, the Diary of Anne Frank.

Somewhere, possibly over a rainbow, Apollo and the Muses sit down and have a brainstorming session. What's popular right now, they hum. Porn, porn's always popular. Islam's topical.

And lo, a new musical chunders from an industrial-sized assembly line, manufactured from minor keys and exaggerated hand gestures. Next thing you've got Porn the Musical and Jihad! the Musical. Sadly, I'm not kidding. There's been a musical based on the bombing of Nagasaki and on a dispute between Roy Keane and Ireland manager Mick McCarthy. Is it just that no-one in the room is brave enough to say no? Singing, I like singing. Talking, talking is good. The two together? It's too much. It's sensory overload. It's not right, not right at all.

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