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Posted freckles on Today, 08:00 AM
Posted mallardo on Yesterday, 10:52 PM
It's not a love story because it wasn't a love story. Stephen States right at the start he tried marriage and he didn't enjoy monogamy.
My interpretation was that Stephen enjoyed the relationships he was able to develop with his male acquaintances because of their involvement with Christine. The basis of their relationship - as explained - was that she told him everything that happened when he wasn't around, meaning he thought she could prove useful in obtaining information he couldn't.
But because they weren't sleeping together, there is a moment in the musical where Christine mentions that if their friendship continues, she could see herself loving him one day. But of course things don't get chance to develop quite in that way.
So then Ward was in fact pimping her out - not for money but for information. It doesn't explain why he didn't sleep with her but he did with Mandy - who he was using in the same way. Why was Christine special? That's what we don't get and what we NEED to get.
And if this really is the story, how sad and pathetic it is. How sad and pathetic HE is, especially since we are told his information was useless. He was just a fantasist.
The more this story is examined the more I wonder what the hell ALW saw in it.
Posted theatremole on Today, 02:06 AM
I'm assuming Nimax paid to be a featured partner as that would explain why it was largely Nimax theatres involved.
Posted Music Man on Today, 04:22 AM
Posted David J on 10 December 2013 - 10:55 PM
With The Light Princess you are seeing a cast that is pulling off stunts and effects in what is a physically demanding musical several times a week.
Posted alec_e10 on 10 December 2013 - 09:25 AM
I am glad you said that. I thought she sounded out of tune as well.
I love Alex Hanson (thinking back to his fantastic performance in A Little Night Music) but I felt a bit underwhelmed by the musical number we heard. However I will give the show a go as you cant really judge a musical by just one number.
Posted wetheatreboy on 09 December 2013 - 05:29 PM
One show closes, another opens therefore employing more people. Its rare that a theatre just sits empty.
Yes but not the same people... The cast, sound dept, automation, stage management, musicians, the crew and follow spots will no longer have jobs.
Those people aren't going to be employed on the next show... Sometimes this happens, but not as a rule. The theatre always needs crew, for example, but the requirements will change from show to show. You might need 6 or 8 members of crew for a musical and less (if any) for a play. Similarly, musicals generally require followspots plays don't.
Posted lookimadeahat on 09 December 2013 - 12:29 PM
I have always been a huge fan of ALW (and am constantly taunted for my appreciation of his work) and couldn't have gone into this with more of an open mind. I actually didn't mind Love Never Dies, and enjoyed The Woman in White (aside from the set), so in a way I am a target market and not someone wanting to see it fail, like many others out there.
It took about 10 minutes to get that really bad sinking feeling where you know something is a disaster. I can't stress enough how much I went in wanting to like it....
Firstly - it has to be one of the ugliest sets and designs I have ever seen. It looks cheap, basic and unfinished. I have genuinely seen better sets in Am Dram. Projections were awful, out of focus, turning off and on (granted it was previews) but added nothing. The stage itself was barely used. The curtains revolve (causing some trips along the way from some cast...) and new horizontal flats are brought in which divide the set in half. Each one is uglier than the last. Whilst I don't expect everything to have the 'wow' factor when it comes to set, you do expect some thought in it, and simplicity is often the best way. This falls between two stalls. Blocking was messy and there were moments where the scenes just didn't work as people were upstaging and stood in the way of others. The bloody curtains even blocked out things unintentionally.
The music. Well, having been given the Cast Album on arrival (3rd preview - bizarre?) I have had a chance to relisten to bits of this so feel I can give a comment on multiple listens. Overall it is truly awful and made me go back to appreciate FHTE a lot more. ALW is great at writing 'hooks' in his music, but in this case the songs are not developed. The slightly better ones are very recit heavy and just don't soar. Even Joanna Riding's song was half a good song, but lacked development (and sounds an awfully lot like 'I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself...')
Any ALW will be able to pick out exact lifts from his other shows - Whistle, Aspects, Evita - they are all there. It's quite a fun game actually. A couple of songs are okay, but the majority are just simply horrendous.
As most people have said, the cast are fine - Jo Riding is sadly underused.
In wondering if I am just getting grumpier - I decided to strike up discussion with those around me to gauge some opinion. Two people never returned after the interval, the party in front were mixed, most saying it was disappointing and the other side of me hated it. The audience reaction throughout the first act was extremely muted - barely any applause, but perhaps that's a structural thing, and none of the songs end with a button or in any actual climax, they mainly just disappear off. There was a real lack of energy about the whole piece. For a 3rd preview they should be on fire. I actually saw an ensemble member yawn.
The main problem I found, being significantly younger than most of the audience, there was nothing to firmly root the 60s content. Yes there is that Peron's Latest Flame number, but just flippant references to the Cuban Misile Crisis and no sense of danger or suspense that the world was in at that time - so the scandal just didn't seem scandalous AT all....Parts were racist and embarrassing. Too many negatives to count.
Overall I'm sad to say I thought it was a disaster. I gave the cast album a listen this weekend and have already shelved it - what a missed opportunity!
Posted mallardo on 08 December 2013 - 02:50 PM
The fact that Ward and Keeler and Rice-Davies get reduced stage time in Act Two reflects how this story has to be told - but it's bad theatre and fatal, especially, for a musical.
I don't fault Christopher Hampton for it, he did a professional job with the book - but his hands were tied by the truth. It's why I think it was a bad idea in the first place.
Posted Maxim on 08 December 2013 - 11:26 AM
Fair point. So I repeat my, hopefully valid, points on what I think could only ever be faults with this show:
A hero nobody understands any more at the end than at the begininning. Pimp, voyeur, fantasist - who? And who cares? If this is meant to be be the point, is it a strange use of two and a half hours. The show reveals him less as a victim than as a cipher.
Inconsistent story telling: the hero comments on the action throughout the first half, and then, during the second, is merely talked about by other passing minor characters, half the time as if in a second-rate court room drama.
A lead female character who disappears entirely in musical terms, and almost entirely from view, in the second half of the show.
'Laundry list' songs of 1960s history lesson references ('Ava Gardner, Cuban missile crisis' etc) to the Human Sacrifice riff, instead of a structured attempt to reveal the characters through primal story lyrics.
But this is the problem. There is no primal story. Just a historical enigma. And I do not think it has been made into great or even good theatre.
It is very, very professionally done, and in previews is almost technically immaculate. But is is inert.
Posted mrkringas on 08 December 2013 - 08:11 AM
That may be too "cool" for some people to accept but I merely say the early 70s trio of Company, Follies & A Little Night Music... who else comes close?
Then throw in Sweeney Todd and his later works with James Lapine. As much as I love Pacific Overtures even I can recognise its a bit niche.
Also how depressing that someone can't hear and repeat the soaring melodies of this great composer by singing even a few bars of Send in the Clowns, Joanna, Being Alive, Losing my Mind, Broadway Baby, Good Thing Going etc.
Each to their own but the Sondheim/ALW dichotomy is so depressingly predictable.
Posted Horton on 08 December 2013 - 06:24 AM
Oh please! If someone's critical response is different from your own it must be because they just want to be cool? How simplistic.
The problem with ALW is he makes such bombastic claims in his attempt to sell a show that he puts himself front and centre in the firing line. You don't hear Sondheim- or Wildhorn, Jason Robert Brown or Michael John LaChiusa for that matter- proclaiming this or that to be their greatest score, or this person to be the greatest leading lady, or this or that to be the last show with decent songs. They have a little more grace, tact and sense. So he sets himself up to be knocked down- and worse still, the mediocrity of his recent work gives critics plenty of ammunition.
Sadly, this topic seemed ripe for drama, and the "cool" setting would be ideal for another score of 'JCS' or 'Evita', quality, but it appears ALW hasn't got one of those left in him.
Posted wetheatreboy on 05 December 2013 - 04:45 PM
I suspect the decision to let him go might be less to do with inappropriate pictures and more to do with the fact his "research", as we saw on Tuesday's episode, is mainly looking up Baz's Daily Mail column...
I was also surprised to see that he said that Les Mis is a musical about the French Revolution, when that is what it definitely isn't about! And he's supposed to be a lecturer in theatre history?
Posted marikomedford on 07 December 2013 - 07:55 PM
Posted Ryan on 06 December 2013 - 10:45 AM
The current Broadway show looks great from videos, so I'm willing to give it another chance if it does indeed transfer.