At the York Theatre Company, The Road To Qatar! is a slap-happy show about the real-life saga of two nerds who got hired to write a musical in the title country in 2005.
The result is genial and peppy and basically comes off like an extended bit from an old variety show.
And that’s the problem.
Qatar! seems to exist in a world without Sondheim.
It can’t even sniff the butt of [title of show], another musical about two nerds writing a musical. That one was pointed, insidery, wickedly witty, poignant, and generally brilliant. This one is genial and peppy.
And xenophobic too, the Arabs coming off as vain and oafish as the unfunny Italian director character.
Maybe the authors are mad because they never got their final promised payment.
I’m not convinced they deserved it!
In fact, there are times when you start wondering which is worse–the show they wrote or the show they wrote about the show they wrote.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 4, 2011