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#21 Guest_Emma_*

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 11:59 AM

QUOTE(Misplaced @ May 7 2008, 10:39 AM) View Post
I don't know what that means?  Surely not tired tricks like posture, vocal (i.e. accent) control, skill with movement onstage ...?

As I've said before, I think she has a lot of talent but needs training!  I also think she's going to win, which may do her no great favors in the future if she can't eradicate the bad habits she has and develop the discipline I think she needs.


I'm not the biggest fan of Jessie, but I do understand what is meant by 'tired tricks' that some training often tends to instil in people.  And I speak as someone who has been trained.  Some tricks include - ways of singing (bright, vibrato, with lots on an 'ee' sound) that is arguably a trick that tends to make everyone sound impressive but the same - sharp, clear acting movements that are sometimes more about style than truthfulness - certain hand gestures and movements  - some kinds of phrasing / speak-singing etc

All of these are things that the best musical theatre performers grow out of, but you see them time and again among younger trained performers (or untrained performers who are trying to 'copy' people they have seen on stage) and I would agree to some extent with the argument (at least in theory) that you can discover a fresh talent and give them intensive one-to-one training to get them up to a high performance standard that still keeps their freshness.  Ultimately, musical theatre courses have to fall back on these because they need to polish people for performance but don't have the time to go much further than that individually with their students, so I think you see the best musical performers once they have been out of drama school for a couple of years and have really learned how to perform.  

You know, I think it's these tricks that have undermined Rachel and Sarah a bit - the panel loved them, but lots of the audience just seemed to find them a bit contrived or limited in their acting, and with pretty, controlled voices that again don't really grab you.  I reckon they'll both be really good in another few years but they still have to learn how to balance the best things learnt from training with getting back to a truthfulness and engaging style of their own.  For me, Sarah kept taking on notes to some extent and was one of my favourites, but still never quite rang true when performing -- yet.

The best MT performers (just in my opinion - so please don't jump to attack me for this!) are those who are experienced but still have a unique, natural, sometimes raw / vulnerable quality - like Ruthie Henshall / Maria Friedman / Anna Francolini / Scarlett Strallen / Lea Salonga

PS Am I the only to think that it's a bit silly talking about training vs not training when a lot of the 'untrained' girls have probably had singing lessons or been in a choir?  It's perfectly possible to get just as much training not going to drama school by getting a good singer teacher and going to dance and drama classes!


#22 Guest_Emma_*

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 12:02 PM

PPS And yes, I agree that Jessie doing her bad cockney accent would rule her out of the competition for me

Although is there no way they could change it to an Irish character?  Or would that just be ridiculous!

#23 Guest_guest_*

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 01:53 PM

Ok here are a few thoughts imho:

1. Jessie is too young and inexperienced to play Nancy 8 shows a week in the West End, especially vocally. Her voice may well not be able to handle it, that would be my main worry. When was the last time you heard of a lead in the West End at age 18 (apart from Amy Nuttall in Phantom)??

2. Jessie did give the best performance of the series (and any series of its kind) last Saturday. She had an incredible acting/emotional level to her performance, even if the singing was not quite where it should be. But for 18 - it was amazing. And this is coming from a bunch of old and renowned pros I was watching the show with that know the show Oliver backwards, everyone was very impressed.

3. I agree, the cockney accent is not there. HOWEVER, that's the least thing to worry about. She has at least 6 months to learn it and perfect it to a t, anyone can don a decent cockney accent in that time or any accent for that matter. But very few untrained/inexperienced people can develop star the emotional acting range required for the part in a couple of months. Same with the crooked mouth - something you can get rid of in a couple of months if need be. I would rather have an amazing actress as Nancy with a bit of a weird mouth and a not so perfect accent - than someone who does a fab cockney and has a beautiful mouth - but can't act or does "acting by numbers".

4. Jessie is young, untrained, unrefined and needs work and training of some kind. But she has star quality. And I think we will be seeing a lot more of her in the future, more so than any of the other MT reality tv show contestants.

5. Sarah should not have left last week, that was ridiculous. She was never going to be Nancy (wrong look, wrong temparament) but she deserved to stay a bit longer, as she is a talented and skilled pro who did deliver.

6. I agree with guest Emma.

#24 Guest_Eric_*

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 02:56 PM

I'm sorry to disagree but don't think she has any star quality.  She looks good on tv because she's pretty but I doubt she has what it takes to hold the stage.  She's my least favourite to win but the pannel seems to be pushing her the way they did it with Connie, so she'll probabably win.

#25 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 03:04 PM

Another flaw in this casting process is the fact that we are judging people who are performing on a stage as their prize - on TV screens. So I get your point about her working well on television but possibly not on a stage. Impossible to judge right now. So yes, fair enough. However, she definitely has star quality on screen and not just because she is pretty. She has been pretty from day 1 but I never rated her that much before last Saturday. It is also interesting that every pro I have spoken to about it (actors, agents, etc) including all the pros on the panel that night - are in total agreement about Jessie's performance last Saturday.

#26 Misplaced

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 03:45 PM

QUOTE(Emma @ May 8 2008, 12:59 PM) View Post
I'm not the biggest fan of Jessie, but I do understand what is meant by 'tired tricks' that some training often tends to instil in people.

[snip]



Thanks, Guest Emma, for that very thoughtful response.  I agree with much of what you've said!
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#27 Matthew Winn

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 07:15 PM

QUOTE(Emma @ May 8 2008, 12:59 PM) View Post
I'm not the biggest fan of Jessie, but I do understand what is meant by 'tired tricks' that some training often tends to instil in people.  And I speak as someone who has been trained.  Some tricks include - ways of singing (bright, vibrato, with lots on an 'ee' sound) that is arguably a trick that tends to make everyone sound impressive but the same - sharp, clear acting movements that are sometimes more about style than truthfulness - certain hand gestures and movements  - some kinds of phrasing / speak-singing etc

All of these are things that the best musical theatre performers grow out of, but you see them time and again among younger trained performers (or untrained performers who are trying to 'copy' people they have seen on stage) and I would agree to some extent with the argument (at least in theory) that you can discover a fresh talent and give them intensive one-to-one training to get them up to a high performance standard that still keeps their freshness.  Ultimately, musical theatre courses have to fall back on these because they need to polish people for performance but don't have the time to go much further than that individually with their students, so I think you see the best musical performers once they have been out of drama school for a couple of years and have really learned how to perform.  

You know, I think it's these tricks that have undermined Rachel and Sarah a bit - the panel loved them, but lots of the audience just seemed to find them a bit contrived or limited in their acting, and with pretty, controlled voices that again don't really grab you.

I think you may be crediting the audience with more perceptiveness than they actually have. It's certainly true that many people who have been through conventional musical theatre training end up showing a kind of "house style" that gets wearing after a while, but I'm not convinced that enough of the IDA audience would have seen enough theatre to be aware of this. When you've only been to the theatre half a dozen times in your life you don't have the experience to notice recurrent techniques.

I don't recall audiences in previous shows being put off by a surfeit of professionalism.

QUOTE
The best MT performers (just in my opinion - so please don't jump to attack me for this!) are those who are experienced but still have a unique, natural, sometimes raw / vulnerable quality - like Ruthie Henshall / Maria Friedman / Anna Francolini / Scarlett Strallen / Lea Salonga

I certainly won't disagree with that. My favourite performers all came to musical theatre through unconventional routes, mostly by training as ballet dancers and then having to discover musical techniques by their own efforts. None of them are really experienced enough to be considered among the greats, but all are fascinating to watch because they have a personal approach to each role rather than one instilled in them through education. On the other hand I've seen some people who play exactly the same character in every show: they speak different lines but never play different characters.

And all of them have taken many years to get there, which is why I think it's unrealistic to take someone like Jessie and expect her to become a leading lady in a few months. My favourite actress of the moment is in her early thirties, and it's taken regular work since her teens to bring her up to the standard that made her my favourite. Try as I might, I can't see any way of cramming the experience gained from numerous roles into the time available before Oliver! opens. That's the thing about experience: it requires experience.
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#28 Guest_Emma_*

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 09:40 PM

QUOTE(Matthew Winn @ May 8 2008, 07:15 PM) View Post
I don't recall audiences in previous shows being put off by a surfeit of professionalism.


That's true - although arguably Connie (who I didn't much like) and Lee (who I did) had more charisma that came across on screen than the 'professionals' in I'd Do Anything.  I don't know - after the past few weeks I've given up trying to second guess what the audience like!  I was convinced they'd all love Sarah because she's just so sweet and the kind of performer you'd take your kids to see, especially after the Olivers chose her as their favourite.

Here's a thought - if you were Cameron Mackintosh, surely you wouldn't really want one of the Irish girls to win.  If this is a show about who will pull in the largest crowds, don't you want the winner to be someone whose voters will actually come to see her in the West End?  Which must be harder if she's from Ireland than from, say, Blackpool...

#29 rona910

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 04:54 PM

QUOTE(atagirl123 @ May 7 2008, 09:33 AM) View Post
Don't believe everything they tell you on the telly. Forget talent, forget musical theatre training- the girl who wins will be the one who gets the most votes from the little old ladies who pick up the phone.



In that case, we're doomed, the Oirish one will be Nancy. Take it from a curly-head, little old ladies love curls, I've had complete stranger come up to me with their little trolleys and pat me on the head and tell me I've "got lovely hair, dearie"

No wonder the elderly and infirm complain they can't afford the heating, it's cos all of their money is going towards keeping Jessie in IDA...

#30 allthatjazz

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 05:49 PM

QUOTE(rona910 @ May 14 2008, 05:54 PM) View Post
In that case, we're doomed, the Oirish one will be Nancy. Take it from a curly-head, little old ladies love curls, I've had complete stranger come up to me with their little trolleys and pat me on the head and tell me I've "got lovely hair, dearie"

No wonder the elderly and infirm complain they can't afford the heating, it's cos all of their money is going towards keeping Jessie in IDA...


Sorry but I find your last comment about the elderly and infirm ignorant, disrespectful and thoughtless and that is all I am going to say!




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