Review – Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Friday 16 November 2007

The next time some New Yorker is telling you what a wonderfully multi-cultural, multi-faith city it is, take them along to the Radio City 75th Christmas Spectacular (sponsored by North Fork Bank) – the show that time forgot. Almost literally – some of the choreography is 73 years old.

This is unashamedly a CHRISTMAS show. Nothing for Jews or Muslims here. Move along please. It would probably be banned in the UK.

But in spite of that, the Whingers were pretty much sold on much of this 90 minute show from the opening number in which 36 Radio City Rockettes high-kick dressed vaguely as reindeer (left).

The RCCS has become a New York institution since the 6,000 (yes, six thousand) seat Art Deco theatre was built in the early 1930s.

The show has been updated a bit – there’s a fantastic 3D movie element this year and a wonderful set piece in which the Rockettes ride around New York on a bus (no, really) and the Whingers have pledged never to ride on a bus in London again unless accompanied by 36 Rockettes in white PVC macs and berets.

The most fascinating number is the famous “The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” which features the original 1934 choreography (right) and felt like a bit of important (in the scheme of things) history.

Later the Whingers bumped into an English teacher from Idaho (she declined to name the town but described it as “the rectum of the Mid-West”) who told them she sees the Christmas Spectacular every year and this was the best for a long time as there was more Rockette stuff in it again.

Well, the Whingers would have been happy with just the Rockette stuff. Take out the the Santa/kids/Nativity stuff and just bring on the dancing girls again, we say. Mind you, without Santa/Nativity scenes it might have been difficult to incorporate the dwarfs, the sheep, the donkey and the camel.

At one point as dancing teddy-bears shuffled around the stage, Phil glanced across at Andrew who was smiling happily. It was at this point that Phil wondered if this might not be the beginning of the end of the West End Whingers.

But please cut the schmaltz. The Whingers naturally hate Christmas and in between the tap dancing the whole thing was getting extremely saccharine with lines as immortal as:

  • “Christmas is a gift we receive only if we believe”
  • “I close my eyes and see shiny faces of children who now have children of their own”
  • “Shine out the light of love, shine out the light of joy, shine out the light of peace”

Thankfully the Whingers had taken some insulin shots and by the end of the show Phil was merrily waving his complementary illuminated fairy wand with the other 5,999 people.
The Whingers were pretty impressed with the campness of the whole thing and dropped backstage to find out what might be involved in becoming a Rockette.

Jessie (left) told them that the requirements were being between 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 10 1/2 in height (check), trained in ballet, tap and jazz (how hard can that be?) and the ability to kick one’s leg to eye-level (well, Phil may be able to once he gets to the head of the hip replacement queue). Gender was not mentioned.

But then it emerged that on some days the girls have to perform five shows which seems like an awful lot of work so we will be arriving back in London tomorrow as per the original schedule.

5 Responses to “Review – Radio City Christmas Spectacular”

  1. Whingers, It is a true spectacle, and quintessential New York. Glad you had a chance to experience it for yourselves.

    Now, are you going to see Chita Rivera’s nightclub engagement??

  2. Phil (a west end whinger) Says:

    Well we were sorely tempted but we’re already booked for her London engagement -should it happen this time.
    Thanks for the tip.
    Andrew swears never to get on a bus again unless dressed in his beret and white PVC shortie mac.

  3. AllShookUp Says:

    Wait… who are the two guys in lederhosen, lurking behind the Rockette Reindeers? No it can’t be you! Can it? Don’t tell me. Next day on your dressing room they hung a star?

  4. Stacey Says:

    I am a New Yorker and a Jew and I love the Christmas Show at Radio City. Cultural diversity is rampant throughout NYC, but don’t you think going to a “CHRISTMAS” show and expecting a multicultural event which incorporates Judaic and Muslim beliefs would be like going to synagogue and wondering why there are no statues of Jesus?

  5. smashbrosfangirl Says:

    I Hate the Radio City Christmas Show. It’s Kiddy. ><
    Im still hooked to the Disney Dreams Show at the Disney Cruise Ships. It Brings Back Memories. ^^

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