The musical that didn’t want a review gets a rave write up in the Manchester Evening News
It is perhaps, the most unusual of public relations offers: Press tickets to attend a theatre show, on the condition that you don’t actually review it.
That’s the situation Manchester Evening News lifestyle editor Dianne Bourne found herself in when she finally got to watch Mrs Doubtfire: The Musical which is currently in Manchester ahead of a move to London’s West End.
“I’d even had emails sent in from readers asking why there’s been no reviews of the show in the MEN,” said Dianne. “After all it’s a huge four-week run at one of Manchester’s most famous theatres.
“The reason, I explained to them, is that press sometimes aren’t allowed in to big new shows until it has “bedded in” a bit with preview shows for a week or so.”
The play has been a hit in Manchester — even without any press reviews — until last week, when Dianne finally got to see the musical, but the on the condition she didn’t review it.
Dianne told readers in her not-review: “Finally, I was invited in to review Mrs Doubtfire at the Opera House. Or so I thought — until I got an email yesterday politely asking me NOT to write anything, but to come down and see it anyway.
“Now, I’ve been reviewing theatre shows in and around Manchester for the past 20 years and this is something that has never happened to me before. Never.
“Why on earth would they invite me as a member of the press and then not want me to review it? Their explanation was that it is an “evolving production” ahead of the as-yet-to-be-announced West End run, although rumoured for later this year.”
No photographs of the new musical have been released, so Dianne’s article was illustrated with shots from the Broadway version.
However, so good was the show, that Dianne did decide to review it after all.
She said: “I have no idea why theatre bosses don’t want the press to write about this show because it’s just wonderful — witty, heart-warming, laugh-out-loud funny and with songs you’re still singing the following morning.
“It’s got West End hit written all over it. I think that’s something worth shouting about.”