I saw it twice - which I rarely do - because I loved it so much. Second time was with Lin Manuel Miranda back in the lead and his presence made a difference. I think it's one of the great musicals of the last decade and in the small confines of the Southwark it will be AMAZING!!
I foresee no problem with its somewhat parochial subject matter. It's about the Dominican Republic ghetto in Manhattan but the issues there are the issues everywhere. I predict a Huge Hit and a transfer.
Was seduced into going to this tonight by the smattering of front stalls seats available for advance booking at £19.50. Very glad I went, mostly because Zrinka Cvitesic gives the most charming musical performance I've seen in a long while. She is funnier, more in the moment than the other actors in this. She radiates so much warmth, she glows. She is like the real life embodiment of a Disney princess, so feisty, so heartfelt, so lovely yet you can't hate her for it. I was in tears for much of her performance. David Hunter is not her match in the acting stakes, more whiny teenager than man. He is like Pinocchio, a little bit wooden, but god, when he sings, he becomes a real boy, as heartbreaking as Zrinka.
And when the ensemble sing together, that is something almost spiritual in it's beauty, and that's a rarely used word for this agnostic.
I had avoided this show as I had attended a couple of concerts in 2008 by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, performing this music, basked in Oscar glory. And then they broke up, and I felt that the music was a historical monument, past it's sell by date, that it's most glorious incarnation was in the past.
Now I am struck by a similar worry regarding Zrinka Cvitesic. Namely that everything she did tonight was so perfect that when she moves on to new roles, she may never hit such heights again. My fears about the music have been proved wrong, I hope and trust my fears about Zrinka will be proved wrong as well. 4 stars overall, 5 stars for Zrinka Cvitesic.
Here's the story - already booked for this, sounds like it could be a lot of fun....
Musical theatre stars including Frances Ruffelle, Daniel Boys, Cynthia Erivo and Jenna Russell will be able to sing songs from roles they'll never be cast in at West End Recast, a one-off concert at the Duke of York's Theatre on 16 March. The show, which has "no boundaries", will let the stars sing whatever they like, regardless of age, sex or even singing voice. It will feature songs from shows including Wicked, Sweeney Todd, Rent, Dreamgirlsand La Cage Aux Folles. Also joining the cast will be Simon Bailey, Rebecca Brewer, Martin Callaghan, Nick Holder, Leon Lopez,Laura Pitt-Pulford, Jon Robyns and Emma Williams, with more to be announced. Billed as a "rare opportunity to witness the musical theatre impossible", West End Recast is directed byAdam Lensen, whose directed credits include Ordinary Days (Trafalgar Studios), Little Fish and Saturn Returns (Finborough). Tickets for the concert can be booked at 0844 871 7627 or online.
Just thought I'd report from last night: Absolutely terrific show full of intimacy, intensity and energy, the abilities and talents of the mutlitasking cast absolutely blew me away, highlights being the A Capella version of Gold and Zrinka Cvitešić's peformance as 'Girl' in particular. The reprise of Falling Slowly genuinely got to me, and I left feeling pretty emotional.
David Hunter (I believe, certainly one of the Guy understudies) was on, and I did enjoy his performance, quite nicely understated and a great voice for the material.
edit: I forgot to mention how much I enjoyed seeing Jez Unwin, his performance of Ball of Wax in Ghost was just about the only thing I enjoyed in that show.
Just back from the second night in Manchester. WHAT A FAB SHOW!
I had no preconceptions about it at all, never even saw the film but I sat there literally with a smile on my space the whole night. And guess who the stand out performance was.... Rufus Hound and that was the last thing I was expecting. He's so energetic, very cute, the acting is great and the singing great too. He certainly shows up Robert Lindsay in that department.
All the cast were excellent. No weak links, loved Samantha Bond and the guy who plays the French guy. The costumes and design were gorgeous, it looks very very classy.
Got invited to a focus group afterwards and the feedback was pretty much 100% positive. Some sound issues bring the only real complaint (orchestra too loud on some songs, drowning the vocal).
I really wasn't in the mood for going tonight but so glad I did. Loved it.
So glad you started this thread, paplazaroo, as I saw the show yesterday and wanted to post about it but had exactly the same concern about where to do so. The show was sensational. I have never seen anything like it (because of the mixture of song and dance) and sat there absolutely transfixed. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it and expect it will soon sell out.
I totally agree. I know it's a far from perfect show.. But it's bloody spectacular and no expense has been spared on it, which you can't say about many shows. I've taken many young family members and other relatives to see it since it opened , and all have genuinely loved it. If id have seen a show as lavish as this when I was a kid, I'd be hooked for life especially as it features young performers more than holding the stage.
When people see a show like this & proclaim it was "rubbish", I have no idea what some people expect or want from a show?! How is it rubbish?! I can see arguments for the story structure not being great (though this is due to the book / story) and there not being huge great showstopping songs, but how is it then rubbish?!