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Member Since 24 Jun 2011
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#268199 West End Men (Vaudeville Theatre)

Posted Cactus on 09 June 2013 - 11:36 AM

View PostTitan, on 09 June 2013 - 06:19 AM, said:

West End Men has been around for a while touring, with different leads (like Three Phantoms).  To be fair as far as im aware this isn't them producing the show themselves, they have been hired by the producers so its not them 'being out of work and desperate'.  Its really a one off event type show and not something that can easily sustain a long run, an odd filler choice but it must cost peanuts to run.
I agree. Having seen it, it really is production and ticket prices (as well as direction) that are to blame. All performers really seemed to be making the best of it and it has its moments - Til I Hear You Sing and Gethsemane were both outstanding - but setting it up for a four week run was unrealistic.
Plus, I think it's pretty low to criticise a performer for taking on a job offered to him or her (and doing it well) just because I'm not a fan of that sort of show.

#266050 The Ongoing Les MisÚrables Discussion Thread

Posted Cactus on 21 May 2013 - 09:30 AM

wickedgrin, short contracts are not automatically the solution... There are a lot of positive things to be said about casts the grow together and stick together for a while without constant new and tiring rehearsals to allow new cast members to get used to the show. Having new people join doesn't mean they're 'kept on their toes'. The rehearsal period is very short and often just about blocking and lighting cues etc. and having talked to a number of performers, it's the first few months of performing the parts when you really get to explore the show and find your footing and get confident and secure in your portrayal. Especially with characters like the students it usually helps to establish them as a group.
If a performance seems tired or lacklustre it's almost certainly due to direction and individual performances. I remember when I saw Les Mis for the first time after several years which (as I later found out) happened to be towards the end of a cast's run. They'd been performing together for about ten months and I still remember how many small details and layered interactions there were, and how great the energy was. They didn't have to concentrate on blocking or cues but were completely at ease with the material and had explored the characters to the fullest. In comparison, I saw the 25th Anniversary UK tour just a couple of weeks into their run and all the students seemed to be one generic body, not individual characters.
That said, seeing Les Mis about six months ago (so just about four months into the cast's run), I also felt that they seemed to just be 'there' as if to say 'the house will be full anyway so why bother?'. I put this down to casting and direction and given my experience with other casts I'll stick with that - but it was frustrating. The audience still seemed to enjoy it it but I'd definitely seen more passionate performances in the show (even ten or so months into a cast's run).
I know that quite a number of performers really enjoy having an entire year or more with their characters and use it to the fullest by exploring their parts to the fullest and work out various interactions - after all, it's quite an ensemble-heavy show and it allows for more freedom than A Chorus Line for example, or Phantom which almost entirely relies on the three leads. A fair number of actors and actresses in the past have chosen to stay with Les Mis for several years (both as principals and in the ensemble) have have continued to give strong and original performances. I've seen performers who, after almost two years in their role, had more passion and dedication than others showed after three months. But I also agree that direction at the moment seems to be superficial.

#259049 Best English Song Of The Year!!!

Posted Cactus on 19 March 2013 - 05:57 PM


#258027 The Ongoing Les MisÚrables Discussion Thread

Posted Cactus on 11 March 2013 - 12:17 AM

I loved Eddie as Marius but the character is definitely not supposed to come across like the potential leader of a student uprising... He can be strong and he can be layered and interesting (rather than being a two-dimensional High School Musical Marius) but I don't think that not solely reducing him to the romantic lead automatically means he has to be in the front line for the revolution. And it's not like London hasn't had Mariuses who were quite strong characters (in terms of personality) as such - Hayden Tee or Jon Robyns come to mind.

#257666 The Ongoing Les MisÚrables Discussion Thread

Posted Cactus on 08 March 2013 - 12:57 AM

View Postcat123, on 08 March 2013 - 12:05 AM, said:

Out of Interest (because I spend way too much time thinking about this stuff) who would you cast in Les Mis if given the chance? Preferably people who haven't been in it before. I have a Fantine, Eponine, Javert and Enjolras firmly in mind!
I'd quite like to see Iwan Lewis as Marius or Enjolras...

#256341 A Chorus Line

Posted Cactus on 27 February 2013 - 11:04 AM

You do realise that 'no big sets and no costume changes' are essential to the story?!

#255591 The Ongoing Les MisÚrables Discussion Thread

Posted Cactus on 21 February 2013 - 03:01 PM

One good way to keep great seats from becoming more expensive and overpriced is to not advertise them so openly...

#249546 The Ongoing Les MisÚrables Discussion Thread

Posted Cactus on 19 December 2012 - 11:13 PM

View PostTitan, on 19 December 2012 - 09:51 PM, said:

No I have to agree with Bowlerhat, I think Liam is really weak (as he was in Hairspray).  He doesn't have a very strong or  masculine presence either which doesn't help for a part like Enjolras
Yes, I agree. I don't actually think a role like Enjolras needs to be overly masculine, though, but some intelligence, determination and passion instead of shrugging and doubting half of your lines certainly helps. At the moment the revolt seems doomed before they even build a barricade and that's really not the point is it?

#248217 Les Mis Movie

Posted Cactus on 08 December 2012 - 01:51 PM

View PostQuincyMD, on 08 December 2012 - 01:30 PM, said:

What a strange attitude - you do actually realise that film is a different medium to stage?
I'm sure she's aware of that, but surely it's not strange of a fan of the stage show to trust opinions of other fans more than official reviews? It's more likely that she'll subjectively enjoy something people with a similar background to hers have enjoyed than something which critics who, for example, have never been into musical theatre or don't know a thing about Les Mis liked/disliked.

eta: that said, having read a few reviews it's clear that some critics are well aware of Les Misérables and do take that into consideration when reviewing the film, e.g. the one commenting on (the lack of) establishing the bond between Valjean and Cosette...

#247436 Les Mis Movie

Posted Cactus on 02 December 2012 - 03:22 PM

View PostRooster Byron, on 02 December 2012 - 03:07 PM, said:

and they will continue to do that when you see them in short snippets, but the film isn't short snippets. It's a directorial style that really works... there's plenty of classic Tom Hooper close ups on the right of the screen, empty on the left. You're used to seeing it on the stage from a far, and this isn't that, and is all the better for it. Within the whole film I'd guess perhaps 3% is spoken the rest is sung through. Yes the first 20 minutes take a while to get used to the singing bits... but it basically has created a universe in which everyone communicates through song. Not west end belting it to an audience, be intense song used in the same way that you might use speech.
As long as you reduce my opinion to 'you're only comparing it to the stage show so therefore your opinion doesn't matter', I don't believe there's any point in discussing it?! I'm not liking the extreme closeups because they don't sit comfortably with me and I think Hooper is overdoing it. That has absolutely nothing to do with the stage production. Plus, it's not like 'intense song' and 'belting it to the audience' are the only options. There are plenty of examples of stage performers being understated and intense and able to reach the front row as well as the back row emotionally, it's not a constant belting competition in the very slightest. You can be quiet and emotionally charged and subtle and still hit the notes and act with your voice (which I'm not hearing from Crowe, Jackman or Seyfried so far, sorry).

#247434 Les Mis Movie

Posted Cactus on 02 December 2012 - 02:55 PM

But... surely if people can base their excitement and optimism on the couple of clips they've seen, then others are also allowed to voice their wariness? Of course I'm not expecting the same experience as the show, but as it's a musical film you would think that the cast they chose to be able to do the score some justice or they could have just made it a book adaptation.

#247412 Les Mis Movie

Posted Cactus on 02 December 2012 - 01:08 PM

View PostRooster Byron, on 02 December 2012 - 12:32 PM, said:

After two and a half hours immersed in the film you don't spot any flat or weak lines.
The Prologue isn't two and a half hours into the film, though, that's right at the start, and Russell Crowe sounds ridiculously weak. I have to agree with Laughingmonsta, the singing (or lack thereof) is really grating on my nerves, as are the extreme closeups and odd angles.

#242288 The Ongoing Wicked Discussion Thread

Posted Cactus on 24 October 2012 - 10:03 PM

As disappointing as it may be for all her fans, it'd be ten times worse for her wouldn't it... not being able to properly say goodbye to a role you've played for such a long time and devoted yourself to is devastating for any performer and it's always quite upsetting to see it happen. Not even a Wicked fan or crazy about her in particular but gosh, I hope she'll be all right to get a final show in there.

#239060 Once London

Posted Cactus on 30 September 2012 - 03:28 PM

View PostMikyt26, on 30 September 2012 - 02:34 PM, said:

Any word on the cast or who will be casting director for this?

Personally, I would love it if they went for a genuine Irish singer/songwriter type like Glen Hansard in the film. It would feel that more genuine which is what a show like this needs.
I wouldn't be concerned with whether or not he's genuinely Irish, but that aside there are a number of West End performers who'd fit Hansard's type, I think...