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Member Since 17 Apr 2007
Offline Last Active Apr 16 2014 08:34 PM

#294175 Why Is Webber Crucified Whilst Sondheim Revered?

Posted Jim on 24 February 2014 - 11:42 PM

I've enjoyed some of Sondheim's work - Passion especially - but you are correct, his music sounds very similar - has it's trademark dissonant sounds amidst some nice melodic motifs.  For some, that's considered more "intelligent" or edgy, artistic.  Because ALW has more mass-appeal and attempts to write for more commercial purposes, and people claim he's "borrowed" musical phrases from others like Puccini, his work is dismissed   I've always found the arguments to be pretty snobbish and insulting.  For ALW to find inspiration in different stories, try to come up with music to capture the story/moods/feelings etc even if it is derivative of something else, and make it accessible/enjoyable to theatregoers is not easy by any stretch of the imagination.  Ask Sondheim - who's Into the Woods is probably the most successful of his ventures which opened the same year Phantom did and has been revived in NY three times while Phantom's original production is entering it's 26th year

#291866 Cats 2013 Uk Tour

Posted wickedgrin on 06 February 2014 - 10:00 AM

The creative folk on these old shows must think " I wouldn't do it like that now" - it must be like looking at an old photograph. BUT they must love the royalty cheques arriving for work they did 30 years ago when a "new" tour with the old choreography goes on the road.

Yes these shows were ground breaking at the time but do look dated now. I would not see a problem reviving these shows for new audiences that would still see the show but with a whole new design, choreography etc.

#291886 Cats 2013 Uk Tour

Posted Reich on 06 February 2014 - 04:02 PM

It's use of legwarmers and unitards, to me make it look dated

#291645 Aspects Of Love (25Th Anniversary?)

Posted Reich on 04 February 2014 - 01:00 PM

But shows like Chess and Candide keep getting produced not only because it’s popularity but also because each director wants to try and fix it and make their mark in the world. which in turn gives the show more performances. As ASW is excellent at marketing I’m not sure why he hasn’t thought of this before!

#289343 Stephen Ward - The Musical

Posted Theatregoer54 on 13 January 2014 - 12:24 PM

As someone who has been fortunate enough to see nearly 150 shows over the past twenty years and as an avid reader of the Forum for the past year.  I decided that after seeing Stephen Ward at the weekend I would make my first Forum comment. I have seen every Musical currently playing in the West End and alongside ‘Book of Mormon’ I have to say I found Stephen Ward the most entertaining and enjoyable.
The performances are uniformly excellent throughout, Alexander Hanson for his excellent voice and charismatic stage presence, Charlotte Spencer for her sweet singing voice and Joanna Riding for her outstanding performance of one of the best songs I’ve ever had the privilege of hearing onstage in particular.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but as someone who has seen a range of shows from the truly wonderful (Oklahoma at the National Theatre) to the truly dire (Boogie Nights at the Savoy) I have to say that Stephen Ward is definitely one of the best shows I’ve seen. I really hope that more people will take the opportunity to see one of the finest pieces of original theatre for a number of years.

#288647 Aspects Of Love (25Th Anniversary?)

Posted ecm on 06 January 2014 - 09:42 PM

Having seen the original in the west end, 2 tours and the Menier production, I never really 'got' this show until I saw the Menier version and it finally clicked for me.

I have no idea why that production wasn't recorded as an album, even if it wasn't a huge commercial success. It had marvellous new orchestrations and a strong cast.  It seems that some Lloyd Webber shows get endless cast albums - seemingly one every time there's a new production (Superstar and Evita in particular and also many recordings of Tell Me.../Song & Dance and Sunset) - whereas others are still lacking definitive complete recordings. I would love a really good complete recording of Aspects. As far as I'm aware there aren't even any foreign recordings of Aspects, so the original cast is all we have. Likewise, I have no idea why the video production recording of Cats was never released as an album and why the only complete Phantom recording is the recent Albert Hall one, which suffers from being a live recording.

#278811 Love Never Dies Uk Tour '14.

Posted MS1995 on 21 September 2013 - 10:09 PM

To me that seems a bit too old, I think 40s/50s is right, Ramin Karimloo was much too young in the London production IMO!

#278935 Cabaret Starring Will Young - 2013 Uk Tour

Posted SeaShanty on 23 September 2013 - 09:05 PM

I saw the Cabaret touring production at Bristol Hippodrome on Saturday night.  I had already seen this production, starring Will Young on the West End and a couple of years ago with both James Dreyfus and Julian Clary.  Whilst I’m not a massive fan of Will Young, I think that he excels as Emcee; his performance is full of all of the sinister ambivalence demanded by the role.  I also think the production as a whole is first rate.  We saw Emily Bull understudying Siobhan Dillon and I was not disappointed, particularly as I never much rated Siobhan on the BBC’s  “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria” [although that is going back a bit].  I thought that Emily gave a really spirited performance as Sally and had the necessary bluster combined with fragility.  Although I enjoyed the show immensely, I have a couple of issues, which I wanted to share.  Whilst Will is certainly perfect for the role, I was left disappointed by the attitude of some members of the audience, who had clearly only come to see Young.  Presumably, in real life, Will Young has very little in common with Emcee and yet a rather perturbing number of the audience seemed to be incapable of distinguishing the two: responding to every aspect of Emcee, including the amoral acquiesce into fascism and the final devastating anonymity of the gas-chamber death, as chirpy personality quips in a pop concert.  I was startled to find this in London and disappointed to see it repeated in Bristol, that lots of the audience were in stitches at the revelation of Emcee’s gorilla bride, as a Jewish woman with the yellow star emblazoned upon her coat.  Similarly, “Money” was interpreted as being a light-hearted bit of fun with Will and some balloons, as opposed to being an unsettling probe into the diabolical financial greed and consumerism at the core of Nazism.  The most horrific moment, however, was when people were actually wolf-whistling and giggling at the nudity at the end of the show.  I really felt appalled to be sharing breathing-space with audience members so puerile that they could not handle the fact that millions of people were led to their deaths in gas chambers naked, believing that they were going to shower.  The final tableau of the show is its potent apotheosis of the horror, which has lurked beneath the glittering façade of Cabaret since the beginning, and is personified by the character of Emcee.  To giggle, snigger and make sexual innuendoes, in my eyes, surpasses the definition of the word inappropriate.  Whilst I by no means wish to imply that this is the fault of Will Young fans, I can’t help but feel that having a big name, especially a heart-throb, at the centre of the show does partly serve to incite these issues.
This brings me to my only slight other issue with Bill Kenwright’s production: I do not think that the flippant responses of certain audience members can be said to be entirely their own fault.  Having seen the unbelievable Sam Mendes production of Cabaret twice in Paris, I think that this version of the show has a gravitas which Kenwright’s Cabaret is, in places, lacking.  Personally, I think that there are a few moments in the show where sexual malaise and rising political and social violence take a backseat to random comedy.  Don’t get me wrong, Cabaret is and should be an amusing musical, particularly in the first act, however, I find that “Two Ladies” in particular, dupes the audience a little too much into believing that they’re in an anodyne world of pantomime.  I know that you could argue that this is a deliberate ploy, so that the eventual dénouement is all the more shocking in juxtaposition, but I just find the long string of miscellany pulled out of the bed, including a deep-sea diver, a safari explorer and a giraffe fail to serve any symbolic or metaphorical role in the play.  Mendes’ version uses “Two Ladies” to explore fully the sense of sexual possibility, which is both so liberating and so damaging at the Kit Kat Klub: it is far more filthy and far more relevant.  The second moment in Kenwright’s Cabaret which jars with me for this same reason is during “Tomorrow Belongs to Me” at the end of Act One.  I absolutely love the staging of this, with Emcee as the malign puppet-master controlling a host of dirndl-clad marionettes and yet I found that the woman [Helga?] creeping up the lectern to smudge a Hitler moustache onto his face felt unnecessarily obvious and distracted from the power of the scene; it also provoked peels of laughter from the audience at a moment I don’t believe is supposed to be funny.  I think that these couple of moments perhaps encourage certain members of the audience to believe that they are watching something which is pure comedy.  It is a shame, I suppose, that they cannot see that a show ultimately about the origins of the holocaust is going to have a troubling subtext, no matter how bewitching it may appear.
My only other slight niggle was with Lyn Paul in the role of Frau Schneider.  Her voice was beautiful, however, I do not believe that is requisite for the role.    She performed the part exactly as she did Mrs J in Blood Brothers, with the exact same accent: “So What” is simply not  “So What” without the exaggerated Germanic “Vhat”!  Something in her performance also lacked the necessary pathos of Frau Schneider [most convincingly portrayed by Sheila Hancock I think].  On the other hand, Valerie Cutko was particularly brilliant as Frau Kost and I think that Matt Rawle is truly amazing as Clifford.

#278196 Cabaret Starring Will Young - 2013 Uk Tour

Posted Matthew Winn on 15 September 2013 - 06:36 AM

View PostMonteverdi, on 14 September 2013 - 10:58 PM, said:

The couple next to me really did not get the Nazi references - what!!! What does it take for an audience to connect with what they are watching?


#278191 Cabaret Starring Will Young - 2013 Uk Tour

Posted Monteverdi on 14 September 2013 - 10:58 PM

I'm just back from seeing the tour in Manchester, and it is in mighty fine shape, still shattering, still inventive, and beautifully performed. Great to hear the elder couples songs so beautifully sung, but my audience, clearly here to see will Young, chose these tender scenes to text, go out for drinks and chatter. I loathe audiences now as no-one seems to be able to concentrate for an hour, or go for an hour without going to the toilet. However the production is still a definitive production. I did see it with Wayne Sleep who was OK (but oh the earlier production he starred in - with Kelly Hunter - was just hideous). The production stands totally removed from the film at last. But did anyone see Alistair McGowan or Julian Clary who both played it in the West end first time round, I believe. Both dubious casting, but Will Young has so much presence and that smile can vanish very suddenly. He was brilliant actually. And dear audiences, that's a bum, that's a breast, get over it. This is a production about bigger things. That last five minutes could go so easily wrong, but thankfully it is set up well, and their was finally stunned silene and attention from the audience. Overhearing conversations from the audience makes me astonished at time. The couple next to me really did not get the Nazi references - what!!! What does it take for an audience to connect with what the are watching?

#276643 Cabaret Starring Will Young - 2013 Uk Tour

Posted Reich on 31 August 2013 - 11:14 AM

thanks for that

I really liked the act 1 ending orginal ending that Norris chose but I know lots of people didn't get it and I remember my mum asking why is everyone naked? This also served as a great juxtaposition to the gas chamber ending of act 2. However the puppet thing also sounds really good

Cabaret is such a strong musical that can be interpreted in many ways and thankfully the writers have always allowed this. I wish West Side Story would also follow this line ...

#277668 Miss Saigon Revival Is Happening

Posted Schuttep on 10 September 2013 - 01:19 PM

View PostNoddyButtToday, on 10 September 2013 - 11:49 AM, said:

Personally I wouldn't mind Mel C as Ellen - she can belt 'em out which is more than Jonathan Pryce ever could.
I must have missed him playing Ellen.

#276635 A Chorus Line

Posted Mathew on 31 August 2013 - 09:22 AM

I hope everyone involved has a wonderful last 2 shows too

#276405 A Chorus Line

Posted mrkringas on 28 August 2013 - 06:16 PM

I'm presuming a number of cast members left when the original six month contract was up including the two USA performers.

I was there last night and loved it. Great to see a range of new performers in roles. In addition to alternative lyrics for Connie (Summer Stock rather than King & I) there was entirely new choreography for the big finish for Harry Francis' version of "I Can Do That". Instead of acrobatics we were treated to a ballet heavy version.

The entire show just works. Nothing brings me so much joy as the moment in "Goodbye Twelve, Goodbye Thirteen, Hello Love" when Paul walks across stage and sings while everyone else is facing back wall and their heads start to bop to the side.. The music builds, the voices start to crescendo and then it all explodes into that great moment. Every time I see it that makes me cry with joy.

Or Cassie's monologue leading into "Music and the Mirror" then the beast of a dance itself.
Or Paul's monologue.

Tempted to go back again for the final performance. Surely there won't be speeches. That would just ruin the concept of the show from the orchestra being elsewhere to the complete blackout? I hope there is more of a buzz though.

It depresses me that in recent visits the theatre has been half full. There is a lack of energy from the audience towards the end. Clearly this show isnt' what happen perceive a musical to be. Its not about the glitz and yet thats what the marketing would tell you. One classic comment last night I overheard was that there was too much dancing!

And does anyone else find it all the more upsetting during "One" when its suddenly Paul who takes the star spot at the front of the V formation? A reminder that his career is likely over due to injury.

#276410 A Chorus Line

Posted SteveMc on 28 August 2013 - 07:14 PM

There's a couple of reasons for the number of covers - firstly, as mentioned above John Partridge and Jon Tsouras left the show a couple of weeks ago, and Alexzandra Sarmiento and Alastair Postlethwaite left on Saturday to join the new tour of Cabaret (which begins tonight) so they are four people short for this final week.  In addition, some of those on the line cover others on the line, so Gary Watson is now playing Zach while his usual role of Don is now being played by Marc Leslie.  Likewise if Adam Salter is off then Harry Frances moves from Mark to Mike, and Michael Steedon plays Mark; and if Scarlett Strallen is off Lucy Jane Adcock plays Cassie and Genevieve Nicole - Judy.  So one absence may lead to two covers.  

Great thing is that the cast is uniformly strong  - so if you didn't happen to get a cast change slip - and didn't know the cast - I'm sure that you you wouldn't have any idea that there were any covers on - you certainly don't see second rate performances.

I'm no dancer so can't say with any degree of expertise about the level of dance in this show compared to others, say Cats.  However I can't think of another show where the cast are so completely emotionally exposed - where the melding of acting, dancing and singing is so complete - where the overused phrases triple threat really is applicable.

I agree with mrkringas that its often the audience rather which lets the show down, they are expecting a glitz and razzle dazzle London Palladium show (as per the finale costumes) what they actually get is a complete theatrical experience.

I know that they needed a wide stage but wish they had managed to find a more intimate house where perhaps it may have had a longer longer.

The west end will be a poorer place after Saturday, but we have to be grateful that we've had six months of being able to see  a piece of theatre history.  

The cast will all go on to do other things - but I'm sure this will remain a highlight of their career.  To all of them - thanks from this particular member of the audience - you are all second best to none.