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ENTERTAININGLY BEHIND THE RAZMATAZZ
on 8 February 2015
The trials and tribulations of three shows struggling to succeed. The lavish "Bombshell" about Marilyn Monroe has many obstacles to overcome if ever to reach Broadway. Low budget "Hit List" is a raw love story in need of a sponsor. "Liaisons" wobbles most dangerously because of its totally inappropriate celebrity star. Will any succeed?
Egos will clash, troubles multiply and tragedy strike before genuine worth is recognized.
The cast of Season 1 continues to please, director Derek (Jack Davenport) still with much to learn from unwise sexual relationships. Christian Borle excels as composer Tom, he here to branch out interestingly. Dominating every scene she is in, Anjelica Huston delights as formidable producer Eileen - she locked in battle with her highly devious ex Jerry, he long overdue for another glass of wine in the face.
Also impressive are newcomers Jeremy Jordan and Andy Mientus as Jimmy and Kyle, "Hit List" their brainchild. Both are young and streetwise: Jimmy talented but unpredictable with a past that may bring him crashing; Kyle the loyal companion, brilliant creator of what they have achieved, but held back by trying to curb Jimmy's excesses.
SMASH 2 is uneven, but offers much that greatly pleases. That does not include the "Liaisons" storyline - it totally silly if truth be told, its useless star allowed to get away with so much. Songs and dance routines abound, some of them highlights.
After sniffy reports from elsewhere, I was surprised and delighted to enjoy SMASH 2 so much. Certain aspects are admittedly shallow but, out of the blue, there comes a great shock. Genuinely moving, it at once propels everything into a higher league.
17 episodes (if one counts the feature-length first and last as two each). Bonuses are confined to deleted scenes and a gag reel.
Although many may regret no Season 3, this one ends with many of its strands satisfyingly resolved.
One message is clear throughout. A great gap exists between the glitz and the reality, this worth bearing in mind when watching award ceremonies.