1) Human Sacrifice: Of the four, this is probably the best and most likely to be the 'big number'. Initially it seems as if it's not upbeat or swelling enough to be the showstopper but it really grows on you, particularly that melody. This is our protagonist (sung by Alexander Hanson) as maverick, the victim of social snobbery. His character seems reminiscent of Eva Peron but he has his own personality. It's a solid character song and hopefully the score will reflect the sound of this one.
2) This Side of The Sky: A rather dull love ballad. Hopefully bigger orchestrations will make it stand out more but it just fades into the background. The critics are no doubt waiting to quip "Stephen Bored" and this song gives them the perfect ammunition.
3) You've Never Had It So Good: This is what I like to call the 'Ascot Gavotte' song. Any group of upper class characters have to sing an ironically prim and proper song. 'Ironic' is the key word here- the ladies at Ascot would faint if they heard these lyrics. These ladies are showgirls who have become mistresses of key political players. The song isn't particularly biting or dark; more an excuse for some smutty lyrics: "Spanking (I'm all for spanking)/ Which stranger am I thanking?"And that was one of the tasteful ones.
4) Hopeless When It Comes To You: This love song is an improvement but it still lacks something. It feels a bit like a Michael Buble song, nicely sung but lacking any particular emotion (sorry Buble). At least it's not overtly derivative, though ALW fans will note a similarity between this and the Aspects of Love number, 'There Is More To Love'.
As for my views on the material, it does have musical potential (and has indeed already been made into a small-scale musical, called Model Girl). Scandal, hypocrisy and showgirls are perfect musical material. But ALW really shot himself in the foot with that name. He might as well have called it "John Smith". Ward simply isn't well known enough for his name to have allure. 'Model Girl' is actually a much better name.
I'm also in two minds about whether the show will seem relevant enough to a modern audience. Even if you're familiar with the Profumo scandal (potted history: in 1963, John Profumo, Secretary of State for War had an affair with showgirl Christine Keeler, and then lied about it in the Commons), of all this year's aniversaries, the Profumo scandal is probably quite far down the list. Besides, is the King of Popular Musical Theatre the best person to tackle the seedy underbelly of sex and politics? Evita's one thing but at least she has the admirable quality of fighting to get to the top so we forgive all that bed-hopping.
One thing's guaranteed: the critics aren't going to be changing their mind about ALW any time soon.