re: Opinion on Tom Francis sings “Sunset Boulevard” at the Olivier Awards. (Video)
Posted by: sf 01:40 pm EDT 04/15/24
In reply to: re: Opinion on Tom Francis sings “Sunset Boulevard” at the Olivier Awards. (Video) - Chazwaza 01:10 pm EDT 04/15/24

The difference between bad British accents on Broadway and bad American accents in London - of which, yes, there are many - is that generally when you listen to a British actor mangling an American accent you can at least tell what they are trying to do, even if they get some of it wrong. That is by no means always the case in the opposite direction, and Ms. Ashford is far from the only offender (though she may very well be the worst). Listening to most of the accents - not just Ms. Ashford - on the recent Broadway cast recording of Sweeney Todd, it is genuinely impossible to work out what the actors think they're trying to do. It's not just that there are sounds you don't hear anywhere in London. There are sounds you don't hear anywhere in the world where people speak English, even as a second language ("splarshing"). It's not just that the choices are frequently truly bizarre, though they certainly are. It's that the result is unlistenable, because the actors are presenting a version of English that is completely divorced from any discernible reality.

And they had a dialect coach to help them, which is jaw-dropping. They WORKED ON those choices, and they're producing sounds that sound like they were conceived in some kind of vacuum in which nobody has ever met anybody from England.

Yes, that sounds harsh. In fact, it's a very, very generous description. As someone who has lived on both sides of the Atlantic, I'm afraid I've never heard anything remotely as bad here. And I saw the original London cast of Whistle Down The Wind, in which all the accents (apart from Marcus Lovett) were capital-D dreadful.
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