Many people have asked me what I thought of Kate Bush’s show “Before the dawn”, which I saw in London on August 27th this year.
At my harshest and most succinct: Kate Bush the Musical as produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber, performed by the Hammersmith Elementary 6th formers, with musical arrangements by Sting.
“Before the Dawn” seemed more a showcase for her 16-year-old than a celebration of her own accomplishments. And I wasn’t there for Bertie’s audition, I was there for his mother. So I was disappointed. Not by the lack of ‘hits’, I don’t care about that. I think singers should sing what they feel like singing and if that’s a choice of their more obscure titles, that’s fine by me.
I was disappointed with the show and the band (very Peter Gabriel/Manu Katché-esque) which all screamed very 80s MTV production to me. It makes sense, if you imagine Kate Bush’s involvement and experience in stage productions effectively came to a halt 35 years ago. Projecting images of water on a bunch of sheets… it just felt very school play.
The sound was terrible where we stood. Our tickets were the cheapest and it turned out all they’d done was sell the space of the back aisle and the side stairs, rather than create a proper standing area.
I have liked Kate Bush’s work for decades, but this comeback has made me wonder whether the careers of 1000s of Bush-inspired artists were maybe launched off the back of a myth. The myth that this 17-year-old girl warbling Wuthering Heights who surprised us all by featuring dance and mime on her first tour was and would remain a visionary genius. That perhaps we were blinded by her lithe beauty. That perhaps it was all a fluke? I do not want to think this. But I did.