It’s a scrappy hour of television, content to observe that, while stuff goes wrong (breaking voices and glass elevators), things generally work out for the best – perhaps the price to pay for the access granted by Sam Mendes and his team. There’s also a bizarrely short detour via ‘Book of Mormon’, presumably to provide context but ultimately only confusing things. As a glance at the nuts and bolts of putting together a blockbuster musical, it’s okay. But it’s hardly an in-depth analysis of a genuine phenomenon. Perhaps later instalments will dig a little deeper.
Much better is Alan Yentob and Michael Kantor’s examination of how Jewish composers – from the Gerswhins and Rodgers and Hammerstein to Sondheim and Mel Brooks – have moulded the musical. Simon Schama looked briefly at the same topic in his magnificent ‘Story of the Jews’ series, but this takes a broader, more optimistic angle.
While Jews filtered their historical outsider status and struggle for acceptance through musical theatre, this never treats them as victims. The narration is a little glib in places, but sparkling contributors and irresistible archive film ensure ‘Broadway Musicals’ never feels like a schlep.
Refitted shipping containers plonked artfully underneath the elevated Shoreditch High Street Overground station make up this contemporary shopping and eating mall. Installed in late 2011, Boxpark is founded by Boxfresh entrepreneur Roger Wade who, with developers Hammerson and Ballymore, has filled the mall with labels such as Evisu, Wandering Minds and Scandi-inspired fashion stores Swedish Hasbeens and Nordic Poetry plus unique jewelry from Astrid & Miyu and food and drink outfits Voodoo Ray's, Falafelicious and Poptata. Taking up a small corner of The Goodsyard, a 4.7-hectare site running alongside Bethnal Green Road, it seems Boxpark is the first of a series of developments on the former wasteland that could see up to 2000 new homes, office and retail space and leisure facilities.