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Not Quite The Best Little Whorehouse

29th October 2010

This post contains spoilers about the plot of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. That might not seem like a big deal but some people take musicals very seriously.

Last night Andrew C Ferguson and I went to see a mutual friend perform in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Although I hate gingham I do quite like musicals and indeed it was a fun and well-staged show with some great one-liners. Structurally however, the story is a disaster.

The first act is totally fine. Here's the key points:

So far so good. What we know is: Miss Mona and her girls are providing a fair service under decent conditions and are generally happy.* They are the good guys here. Melvin is the bad guy. The sheriff is a compassionate soul in a difficult position.

This is what we need from the concluding act:

What instead we get is this:

What? What a total bummer of a second act.

Yes there are some subtleties I have not captured like the fact that the waitress at the café fantasises about being a sexy creature herself or that the sheriff doesn’t remember their trip to Galveston the way Miss Mona does, but come on, we need more. Otherwise this is the plot:

Not the emotional experience I want from my musicals. No matter how much fishnet and silk they feature.

* I am aware that the sex trade is in reality often exploitative and that most sex workers do not regularly stop what they are doing and break into a cheerful song.