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on 30 April 2014
Criminally closed before its time and shackled and weighted down by one of the worst titles to ever grace a musical this is actually some fine work.. Highly romantic in the style of Aspects with the darkness of Women in White - the contemporary pieces slot in nicely.

Its unfortunately not helped either by some utterly dreadful lyrics by Don Black which are so cringe worthy in places they make you shudder with disbelief.

But the music and performances are good.. Hope it gets a run on tour.
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on 22 April 2014
I had expected better and, had it continued for a longer run in the West End, would not have been tempted to go and see it.
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on 23 January 2014
One of the best Musicals from the Lord, magnificant tunes, interesting story, wonderful voices and a delightful memory of the original performance seen last December in London. A MUST for ALW fans!
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on 14 February 2014
some fresh fab songs from the greatest writer of musicals in the 20 and 21st century Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber
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on 23 January 2014
Awesome CD! I play it everyday. Am thrilled with my Christmas gift to myself. Thank you for your prompt service!!!!
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on 15 January 2014
In all honesty I think that this is a sublime piece of work. I won't deny that in the past few years Lord Lloyd Webber hasn't necessarily been at the top of his game (although I do feel that that has been particularly due to bad lyrics) but 'Stephen Ward' has a beautiful soundtrack. I know that unless this show ends up having a phenomenal run I probably won't get to see it until someone decides to do a revival, but I do feel this show deserves a good run. Not necessarily 27 years like Phantom, but certainly longer than 6 months!

I feel that a lot of people's biggest problem with this musical is that it is non-comparable to any other Lloyd Webber show, except perhaps 'Evita'. Yes, several musical themes and motifs created by Lloyd Webber reappear here, but that is something I've come to expect and love from an Andrew Lloyd Webber show. You cannot, under any circumstances, compare a show set in the very real swinging sixties of London to one set in the mid 1800's in a fictional opera house in Paris inhabited by a murderous phantom. The only point of contact between the two is the fact that the primary female leads share the same name.

However, seeing as people feel it's necessary to compare completely unrelated shows, I would advise them to listen to Lloyd Webber's 'Requiem', because each time I listen to 'Stephen Ward', that is the one piece of his that I am truly musically reminded of. I think this is a brilliant show, and deserves much better press than what it is getting.
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on 11 January 2014
In my humble opinion: Here, ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER has done it again. Another big success. Yet another great musical and a superb testament to Stephen Ward. The music is great and the lyrics are terrific; cleverly telling the story, of how the 'government and the establishment', so wickedly hounded Stephen Ward to his death, At this price this is a damned good buy. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I feel fully confident that if you buy it. You will enjoy it too.
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on 14 July 2014
My problem with the title still remains: Stephen Ward is not the title of a musical. It relies on a decent knowledge of the Profumo affair- i.e. knowledge beyond the fact that there was probably someone called Profumo involved. If you're going to use a name, it better have an obvious resonance. There was a musical about the Profumo affair in 2007 actually, called A Model Girl- a much better title.

The second problem- that young audiences won't be familiar with the material- is not necessarily a problem. After all, how many people watching Evita are au fait with South American politics?. The fact that it was the fiftieth anniversary of the events meant that Stephen Ward's trial might pop up in the papers, and therefore people who were around at the time have a reason to remember it. And yes, the parallels with modern celebrity and the culture of scapegoating makes the show relevant; although ALW banks a little too much on this parallel.

For example, we get lots of songs showing the music of the time. The sixties' pastiches are very enjoyable- songs like 'Super Duper Hula Hooper' and 'Black-Hearted Woman'. ALW's strength has always been in creating a popular sound and as the sixties were his teenage years, he should know about the 'sound of the sixties'. Then we get songs showing the culture of the time: Cold War fears in 'Mother Russia, While We Can' and swinging orgies in 'You've Never Had It So Good'. The latter is a kinky version of Ascot Gavotte, with the assumption that Fifty Shades of Grey has whetted our appetites for such things. It is funny but not as witty as it could be; more of the simple Carry On type humour. Then we have police interviews, press interviews and the trial- all sung of course.

You might well wonder where the characters are. We've had a whole Who's-Who of them in the song 'Manipulation', which has a very clumsy conceit where Christine Keeler doesn't recognise the name Harold Macmillan, so of course Stephen has to remind her that he's the Prime Minister! To be fair, the song is entertaining and makes a nice introduction into a world where all the real political decisions are made between the sheets. However, these type of scene-setting songs make up the bulk of Stephen Ward. As another reviewer has said, there's also a touch of pastoralism in the songs that are essentially dialogue sung to music (You're So Very Clever To Have Found This). It's strongly reminiscent of Aspects of Love; you half expect to hear Michael Ball.

The opening number, Human Sacrifice, has elements of a character song but Stephen (sung by Alexander Hanson) is also the narrator so it's a story introduction maninly. We now know the figure and mystery of Stephen Ward the historical figure but not what he's like as a character- what makes him tick. The summary we get from this song is he's just a nice bloke who likes to play the field but there's no real indication as to what drives him to this orgy lifestyle. Stephen also has no love interest, as in real life Christine Keeler had a strictly platonic relationship with him. ALW knows how to write a nice love song but he doesn't get enough chances here.

Another song, 1963, works well on both sound and character as teenage call girls Christine Keeler (Charlotte Spencer) and Mandy Rice Davies (Charlotte Blackridge) sing of their hopes and dreams of fame and celebrity.
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on 9 January 2014
Andrew Lloyd Webber has done it again. Well, it isn't Phantom or Sunset Boulevard, but the music is great in its own way. First I didnøt like it, but after another listen I loved it!
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on 2 January 2015
I saw this at the first preview and was fortunate enough to meet and speak with Andrew himself.It was a great show,but -as other reviewers have pointed out- suffered from a bad title (Having changed "The Beautiful Game" into something else perhaps he can revive this with a better one?)
It was noticeable that the audience were mainly over fifty and what with the warnings about this show not being suitable for children and look all the giggly reviews about the "sexy Andrew" etc., it is hardly surprising that it did not run for long. For some reason - not borne out by the facts- people have come to associate this composer with "family shows".
This was a good score although by no means his best.No big memorable hits came out of it and Joanna Riding was rather wasted in a role ( as Ms a Profumo) that gave her only one song, albeit a good one.
As usual,Andrew was the victim of his faulty choosing of bad material.This is a weakness he has suffered from for most of his career which can largely be traced to his -Jerome Kern like -inability to write lyrics on one hand and inability to keep a solid collaborator on the other. One can only hope that his next planned show, a stage adaption of the 2003 film "School of Rock" will fair better.
Meanwhile,he remains the "last man standing" in the musical world who can still write tunes that have actual melodies and this cast album is a testimony to that fact.If you are a musical fan buy it and appreciate the only new musical around that gives you something to hum afterwards!
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