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Merrily We Roll Along @ Menier & Pinter


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#41 Alf

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 06:00 PM

Just realised I haven't posted my thoughts on this. I thought it was fantastic, a brilliant production with wonderful performances, especially from the three leads, very funny and very touching. The Chocolate Factory has a reputation when it comes to Sondheim and this more than lives up to it. Along with Sweeney Todd earlier this year, this revival has made me fall in love with Sondheim's work.
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#42 harveyjnr

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 06:20 PM

Seeing this soon, my favourite Sondheim score. These comments are making me rather excited!

#43 Distant_Cousin

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 08:34 PM

View PostShowstopper, on 31 December 2012 - 03:16 PM, said:

They want to transfer it, and its currently looking for a venue!

I really hope they do cos I cannot get ANY tickets for the dates I want (at face value)

#44 lesterf

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 11:00 AM

View PostDistant_Cousin, on 02 January 2013 - 08:34 PM, said:

I really hope they do cos I cannot get ANY tickets for the dates I want (at face value)
have you checked for dates at the end now that they have extended it until 9th March ? there are seats for a lot of the dates in the last 10 days ( except for the last day) ?

#45 Deal J

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 01:29 PM

I'm a big fan of Merrily, and this is a cracking production. The whole cast are superb, but Mark Umbers gets Frank spot on.
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#46 Jon

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:32 AM

I think Merrily could transfer to the Harold Pinter after Old Times finishes its run in April or possibly The Playhouse if Spamalot doesn't extend.

#47 Reich

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 01:34 PM

Maybe it’s because I prefer the original script or maybe because I had such an emotional experience while watching the Donmar version that this one just didn’t do it for me. I like others I struggled to see the chemistry between the leads. I’ve seen the cast perform really well so many time before, so what happened? Could it be the inexperienced director?

I found the choreography to be formulaic and the ugly set only served the action of the first half but not the second. Although on the plus side the band and singing are great but generally I was unmoved by this production.

Broadway has been very good to me. But then, I've been very good to broadway.


#48 Carlos

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:50 AM

I finally got to see it. My first show of the year and I thought it was wonderful. Enjoyed it even more than the Donmar version. The cast alone made it for me. Mark Umbers excelled, covering with great dexterity and depth all phases in Frank's metamorphosis from a dreamy young man to a Faustian cynic. The attention to detail here is impressive. His engagingly charismatic Frank is tactile, always hugging his friends in his many moments of enthusiasm, indicating a loving person at odds with his own ambition. For me it was quite obvious the attraction he exerted on them. Josefina Gabriella as the  vampish star often stole the scenes she was in. I found her specially funny at the end, when we have a glimpse of her more humble beginning, looking around with quick, eager eyes, at one time coy and perceptive, trying to take in as much as possible of the world she's determined to conquer. Jenna Russell, Clare Foster, Damian Humbley and Zizi Strallen also contributed with excellent performances. I'm sure it will be heading my list of highlights for 2013.

#49 Ian

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 06:58 PM

View PostReich, on 09 January 2013 - 01:34 PM, said:

Maybe it’s because I prefer the original script or maybe because I had such an emotional experience while watching the Donmar version that this one just didn’t do it for me. I like others I struggled to see the chemistry between the leads. I’ve seen the cast perform really well so many time before, so what happened? Could it be the inexperienced director?

I found the choreography to be formulaic and the ugly set only served the action of the first half but not the second. Although on the plus side the band and singing are great but generally I was unmoved by this production.

I disagree with almost everything here - the ugly set being our shared opinion. This is at least the fifth production of MWRA that I have seen including the Guildhall (Golden Lane), Donmar and Derby shows and this is easily the best IMO. I loved Friedman's production (I am not a big fan of her on-stage performances), and found the chemistry of the three leads mesmerising and moving. Frank is a difficult role to get right, - he is a talented if opportunistic, self centred arsehole with a huge charisma who draws the attention - and Mark Umbers nailed it! From the tight black trousers and crisp white shirt to the bubbly, if insincere, personality it was (for me) pitch perfect. Damian Humbley as the possibly more talented but less extroverted Charley (whose second name no-one remembers) was also perfectly cast. Best of all was Jenna Russell whose longing for Frank was evident in every word, the journey - backwards - from using drink to mask the pain of his indifference, to actively trying to disentangle Beth from his embrace was superb. A fantastic supporting cast from Josefina Gabrielle's uber-bitch Gussie to Joanna Woodward's ambitious (and uncaring) TV newswoman massively contributed to make this an outstanding production. Well sung and great orchestra.

My main gripes are about the physical attributes of the Menier itself. It is a venue I am growing to loathe. The uncomfortable benches, the absurd configuration of the overly long and shallow stage (usually resulting in the ugly sets that Reich mentions), the low ceiling all combine against every production. It is almost unfortunate that they continue to stage such excellent musicals which keep me returning, despite the discomfort.
The engine roared, the motor hissed,
And who could see that the road would twist

#50 itsuckstobeme

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 09:25 PM

I think I must be the only person who actually liked the set! It is simple but I wouldn't call it ugly.




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