WASHINGTON – D.C. critics were harsh on the world premiere of the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Jim Steinman musical “Whistle Down the Wind” at the National Theater here.

The Washington Post’s Lloyd Rose called the musical lifeless and dull, and said Patricia Knop’s book “mopes along, starts and stops, introduces plots and then abandons them.” Rose also found Lloyd Webber’s music wanting.

The Washington Times’ legit critic, Nelson Pressley, was slightly more charitable. Although he termed the story a “bloated jumble” of themes, he enjoyed the music, key performances and other credits.

WRC-TV’s Arch Campbell also gave a mixed review, praising the leads and the first act’s energy, but criticizing the second act’s length and failure to tie up plotlines.

Among positive reaction was Roger Meersman from the Journal papers. He praised Lloyd Webber’s “genius for creating memorable tunes and providing songs of intense emotion,” and said director Hal Prince was up to his “customary brilliance.”

The $10 million production opened Dec. 12 for an eight-week run that was more than 90% sold out at a $70 top.

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