SHk, on 18 January 2012 - 11:00 AM, said:
I know. I just don't think ALexia has any understanding of the role at all. No one told her what kind of girl Eponine is? She's never read the original book? She doesn't listen to other characters' lyrics? " Her life was dark and cold, but she was unafraid" Marius sings something like this, doesn't he, when she dies?
Her everything (singing, voice volume movements, mannerism etc.) sticks out like a sore thumb all the way through. How come the director or whoever is responsible can't see that? It's as if her only purpose on stage is show off how loudly she can belt out. And I intensely dislike the way she is treating the role as if it's a comic role. I am sure she is a great comedienne in other shows, but giving one's own interpretation to the role and bringing the role down to the level one can cope with are two different things.
Its not clear if its the direction other than the acting.Tour Eponine went to many of the same places with the character- particularly in what wasn't there, and vocally . They also seem to have gone for a singer primarily in the film version. if , from reports, its gone to a Country singer. I can't see her sounding anything like the actors playing her parents. Helena Bonham Carter could probably play Valjean if you asked her , buut I can't see the Thenardiers all talking as if they come from Pennsylvania. I thought there was a character there in Alexia-Eponine - she's a girl who stays in the background, because she's had a tough life, and she's got attitude, and she can belt out a song. My problem was that the three things didn't fit together , contradicted, and she didn't sound like a Thenardier doing any of them. Because she's quiet and withdrawn ,doesn't look waif like or complex, and doesn't send out positives, or show potential and can belt strongly and safely , she didn't make much contact with me I thought she came, died, and made little impression. .If you play it as a recluse, we don't get involved with you, and if you soar effortlessly we don't get the emotion in the song, or sit there willing you on to get the note. If you don't sound and act like a Thenardier, we miss why you are as you are, why you can't win your love, and what you accomplish to move away from your roots. If its not even clearer you love Marius, you don't justify your role in the finale. Withdrawn is OK - if you can play it as interestingly as Frances Rufelle. If you can just keep to the story and emotions, there's probably enough there - even if you can't work the story, and potential emotions more - Sam Barks worked for me too. What doesn't work is to be more damaged, but less quirky - , whilst at the same time being more streetwise and stronger but less Thenardier.
Having said that Eponine still gets her big reception when I have seen her , although she doesn't command her silences or get the hankies out, as well as some. If you haven't seen someone else bringing the full potential out of the character, or someone doing this version without some add ons, perhaps it doesn't notice so much.
Its not only an Eponine issue either- they seem to be casting other characters differently at different castings too - or directing them to do something different. Tour Fantine seems to have had different direction. while Queens Fantine has stayed more with the classic model . Alfie moved Valjean more to a singing role - Ramin moves it back. Thenardier has moved more to comedy on the tour ,and at the O2, and then with Matt at Queens, and has now moved back to portraying his darker nature. They also seem undecided what they are going to do about making the Thenardiers a standout unique group by giving them that cockney accent. Some people seem to do it. some try, some can't, some don't. Part of Eponine's problem may be at the moment be that her parents are decidedly more distinctive as Thenardiers and sounding like it too -wheras she sounds more generic and unrelated. It might work better if they decided whether they were going to be over PC, or going to forget the accent, or agreed what the Thenardiers should sound like and cast accordingly. They also may have a problem with a Marius and Cosette who do have real chemistry. Eponine there is a clear non contender for Marius - and that may shunt her into the role of onlooker rather than main character. the answer is to make Eponine more attractive herslf - not to turn her into a bystander who comes and goes.