An American in Paris

Adapting Vincente Minnelli’s classic film
by
ABR Arts 21 March 2022

An American in Paris

Adapting Vincente Minnelli’s classic film
by
ABR Arts 21 March 2022
Robbie Fairchild and Leanne Cope in <em>An American in Paris</em> (photograph by Darren Thomas)
Robbie Fairchild and Leanne Cope in An American in Paris (photograph by Darren Thomas)

It is called An American in Paris, but perhaps a more apt title would be The Americans in Paris. Not because the story is about two ex-servicemen who decide to ditch the victory parades back home and stay in a recently occupied city that is in desperate need of revival; but because the show itself is a triumph of the American musical as an art form, a kind of staking out of territory. It is, in its own way, an act of cultural imperialism, a banishment of old conventions in favour of something shiny and new. Proof of this comes deep into the second act, when a French character who fancies himself ‘a song and dance man’ suddenly launches into a fully fledged tap routine that ends with a high-kicking chorus line straight out of Radio City Music Hall. We are still in Paris, right?

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