File under Something I Was Asked To Write That Didn’t Get Published Because Someone Else Had Been Asked To Write Something Identical For The Same Publication Half An Hour Before Me But I Think I’m Still Getting Paid So Never Mind. A piece on literary characters who deserve their own musicals.
First he was in a book, then he was in a film. And now the quest to shoehorn Patrick Bateman into as many oddly-fitting entertainment formats as possible continues with American Psycho: The Musical. Starring Matt Smith from Doctor Who, and Lucie Jones from X Factor four years ago, the American Psycho musical is already a sell-out. This, obviously, means that musicals about unlikely literary figures are the next big thing, which in turn means that these are probably already in pre-production somewhere.
We Need To Talk About Kevin
If Bateman’s getting a musical of his own, then surely Kevin Khatchadourian deserves to be next in line. He’s just as much of an immoral aesthete as Bateman, plus he’s blessed with matinee idol good looks that’ll get the tweens pouring in. What’s more, the climax – where Kevin stands on the lip of the stage indiscriminately firing foam arrows into the screaming audience while he belts out the tender ballad Mummy Didn’t Hug Me – would look amazing being performed at the Tonys.
If anyone in the literary world is crying out to become the new Phantom of the Opera, it’s surely Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter films. Let’s recast him as a doomed romantic lead. Shut away in the basement of Hogwarts, plagued by the sensation that his bald head and lack of nose have made him a source of mockery, Voldemort spends his days lusting after Bellatrix Lestrange and working out pointlessly complex ways to blow everyone up. Look, it’s identical to Phantom of the Opera, but people will watch any old crap if Harry Potter’s in it.
Crime and Punishment On Ice
“Oh you’ve gone and done it now / You’ve chopped that lady’s head clean off / First she screamed then she said ‘Ow!’ / You naughty scamp Raskolnikov”. That’s how one of the songs in this mega-budget Disney On Ice-style spectacular goes. Another goes “Penal servitude is not much fun / But Siberia’s kind of nice / These people beat me every day / But boy I sure like ice”. Then Raskolnikov does a backflip. It is literally everything you’d expect from a musical based on a classic work of Russian literature that takes place on an ice rink.
If there’s one thing that says ‘fun night out’, it’s bleak emotional detachment in the face of the meaningless of existence. Especially when, as with this adaptation of Albert Camus’s L’Etranger, it’s accompanied by a rapid-fire, rootin’-tootin’, old-timey, jazz-handsy, straw-boatered, mass-choreographed The Music Man-style song and dance number. Featuring jaunty hits like Knock Four Times (On the Door of Unhappiness), It’s Common Knowledge That Life Isn’t Worth Living and, of course, Greet Me With Cries of Hate. You’ll laugh! You’ll cry! You probably won’t actually laugh that much!
Fu Manchu: The Fu Manchuiscal
Oh sure, it might be hugely insensitive to write, stage and perform a big budget musical about an offensive racial stereotype, but think of the bigger picture. You might be scared of the public outcry and mass condemnation that will inevitably rise up in the wake of a Fu Manchu musical, but it’s publicity that money can’t buy. Especially if we cast H from Steps in the lead and put him in yellowface. We’ll be the richest musical producers ever to be chased out of the country by a murderous mob of rightly offended citizens.
The Adventures of Pap Finn
Long for the days where it was acceptable to sit children down in front of a Punch and Judy tent and force them to become desensitised to graphic images of domestic violence? Worry that violent alcoholics don’t get the attention they deserve in modern-day entertainment? Then worry no more! The Adventures of Pap Finn will retell Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from the perspective of his drunk and abusive father. You’ll find out why he beat his son so often (his hat was stupid). You’ll learn why he imprisoned Huck in such a brutal way that he had to fake his own death to escape (television hadn’t been invented yet and he needed something to do). You’ll leave feeling unpleasantly grubby. The perfect evening.
This musical adaptation of Steven King’s novel has something for everyone. For the grown-ups, a terrifying story about an unknowable extra-dimensional, independent-from-God superbeing who kills scores of people without motive. But for the kids? Clowns! Who doesn’t love clowns, right? They’ll drive around in their tiny spluttery fall-apart cars, and maybe make some balloon animals, and throw confetti over the audience and turn into bleeding-eyed hellbeasts with mouths full of razor sharp teeth who lure children to their gory doom and squirt people with water from a flower in their lapel. See? Something for everyone.
General Woundwort Down
Imagine if War Horse was a musical. Now imagine if its elaborate puppetry was about rabbits. Now imagine those puppets were used to tell the story of Watership Down. Now imagine that the story of Watership Down was solely about the malevolent dictatorship run by General Woundwort, specifically the logistical difficulties he experienced while maintaining an all-encompassing police state of this size and complexity. You’d go and see that, wouldn’t you? No? What if I told you that it had a song called This Round Of Owslafa Recruitment Is Producing A Disappointingly Small Number Of Employable Candidates? Still no? Fine.