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Posted Titan on 19 December 2012 - 09:51 PM
Posted Lynette on 19 December 2012 - 04:15 PM
Posted djp on 19 December 2012 - 02:30 AM
Got to agree about Geronimo Rauch, Sierra Boggess and Danielle Hope, they stood out the most
I also agree about Liam Tamne. He did seem to struggle to hold the high notes.
I thought Tam Mutu was very good. I will agree about the movement, especially when he wildly went back and forth across the stage as he went into "who is this man, what sort of devil is he".
I did not think much about Adam Linstead as Thenardier actually. He was jolly, but I did not think he did much with the role. Thought Linzi Hateley showed more gusto as Madame Thenardier.
Is it me or could the production do with some speakers for the music? I'm not expecting something on the same level as the concert or the tour, but I was sitting near to the stage and was slightly underwhelmed by the audibility of the music
Saw same show on the first December. Agree Geronimo is excellent, Sierra was off but was excellent the time before that. AJ Callaghan was on and really good too - she's mastered the art of falling increasingly sick without dying as a shock to everyone, or dying mid IDAD - as some did. Danielle has developed into a really strong Eponine , who gets a suitably strong response. They have reverted to nice Cosettes, and as there's nothing obviously wrong with, an otherwise stunning, Eponine, Cosette wins because thats what Marius likes - thats fine but there's more to play for there. We had the/an Enjolras understudy on and I missed the name - which is a shame because he was really good - he looked and sounded the part - helped by literally standing over the other students and having striking long hair. I pretty much convinced myself he's the most commanding/impressive Enjolras I have seen since David Thaxton.
I love Tam's Javert.He's the latest in a series of successful perms (and some less successful ones) on the role who have ranged from the languid to the hyper. I can't see anything wrong with the movement. The guy is effectively having a nervous breakdown as his value system falls apart, the river beckons, and he's not going to be seeing the face of God either. People that stressed, might well look a bit hyper??
The Thenardiers were both excellent. Monsieur T - Cameron Blakeley - has got just the right mix of evil and humour . Linzi Hateley as Madame T was giving a masterclass. - interesting to hear a top singer sing the role - while the script was fully mined for acting gems. Its a shame she's off in January as i would buy more tickets just to see her.
Posted Jamie Kenny on 18 December 2012 - 06:53 PM
Posted ABowlerHat on 18 December 2012 - 09:50 AM
For a while (and I felt this when I saw it last year) the show got really crap. After the 25th anniversary concert, it got so overblown and the people in it became bigger than the show (Alfie Boe, Matt Lucas etc.) Which is fine for a lot of shows, but not for Les Misérables. When I saw it last year, it was rushed, badly sung, lazily acted and felt like some kind of X Factor crapfest.
Now, however, it has gone back to what the show should be and always was.
Gerónimo Rauch is astoundingly good as Valjean, second only to John Owen-Jones for me. His acting is realistic and meaningful, but he places a huge importance on the singing. Whereas other Valjean's would shout their way through some passages, Rauch is right on the melody and the money notes are not only there, they'll blow you away.
Sierra Boggess as Fantine? Sublime. Right up there with Ruthie for me, she was heartbreaking and though the way she was singing concerned me initially (knowing the classical soprano background she comes from) her belting worked for the character and after a minute or two I just forgot that I was watching Sierra.
Special mentions to Danielle Hope (who, whilst not the strongest Eponine vocally, is pretty darn good) and Adam Linstead who was on for Thénardier. Just as brilliant in that role as he is as Grantaire.
Two disappointing parts for me: Tam Mutu (far too much movement, and vocally not good enough for Javert) and Liam Tamne (not a terribly good singer. Flat in places.)
I wasn't expecting to be as impressed with the show as I was which makes me very grateful.
Posted djp on 17 December 2012 - 07:37 PM
Depends a bit where you sit in the show? From row A or F it may not look so different. You also have many of the same cast looking at you. One of the interviews has Eddie/Marius talking about how he eventually twigged that the students around him had all played on a les Mis stage and Alistair had actually played his character and could offer him ideas. The casting of everyone but the top leads has been a bit left out of the coverage. it looks as if the quality shows in the ensemble singing, and its going to be really interesting for example to hear the Eponines singing Lovely Ladies and Cosettes and a Matilda singing Turning.One difference I will be interested in is how much its been secularsed, and how it works without so much of its religious overtones.
Posted cat123 on 17 December 2012 - 08:58 AM
Posted Mathew on 16 December 2012 - 09:35 PM
Posted QuincyMD on 15 December 2012 - 03:10 PM
Posted djp on 15 December 2012 - 02:34 AM
Went today and things may be a bit more complex. Quite a few of the newspaper critics were never going to like it anyway - as they are pretentious and could never admit to liking the Spice Girls even if they did. Other people though identified massive problems with it - and they are right. It got a better response though than I was led to expect, and the critics, or logic, suggests. No standing ovation, but good applause, clapping along when the script finally allowed it and a few positive shouts. There are some funny bits that work well, and some unfunny funny bits. The audience was very predominantly young and female. Comments after overheard were along the lines of I quite liked it, it was fun anyway, and its still no better... If its attracting its niche audience, there's not much else left aimed at them,. and they were applauding rather than booing, and went out looking reasonably happy rather than angry, it may survive until they have to decide not to go again. You may just like enough of it.
Its a truly bizarre beast though. Its got some good points. Lucy Montgomery as Suzi, friend to Viva's mother nailed her big laughs, her thongwork is striking, and she sings one of the best vocals in the show . Tamara Wall is very funny, and gets a too brief chance to show what else she can do really well - after being jailed as Brooke. There's lots of potential there. Its a bit odd that they let her show off her superb abs and let her tattoos enliven a chunk of act one, but don't really exploit the fact that they have a really good singer there, and one of the best dancers around. Hatty Preston who plays Bubble (or here Bubble's modernised variant Minty) is also successfully funny. Without those three working so well , I think big chunks of the show would cure insomnia. Sally Ann Triplett works hard to keep the boat afloat, and sounds really good when she gets the chance, but even she can't harmonise with herself in songs built for 2 or 3 singers with distinctive voices to sing. There were quite a few moments when I thought how much better things would be if the group, Eternal, had been lost in a traffic jam enroute to the studio, and the story had been about the new group thrown together from Viva' s mum, mum's best friend, the Essex girl judge standing in, and any good soprano they could find who could sing Emma's tracks.
The ensemble is good and enthusiastic Much of the rest of the cast get too little to do in the book - and do it wih all degrees of success. The book looks like an abfab sketch with guests and Spice Girl lyrics thrown in, and its got too many plotlines as it tries to get to another song..Bizarrely, the programme credits a Professor for advising on emotional relationships - more bizarre when there's not enough depth to many characters. People appear and then vanish - including the rest of the group. The girls sound OK when they get a chance, and play the characters as interestingly as possible given the book. Their problem is that they sound more similar than the Spice Girls, and the group sound can't go where Melanie C. Mel B, Geri and Emma's vocals took it. If they wanted people to sound not quite like the Spice Girls, and wanted not to give them enough distinction or story to draw comparisons, they succeeded. Viva isn't given enough to make us actually care about her - Sophie in Mamma Mia and Scaramouche do far better. I thought she was most like Geri vocally, but, for better or worse, she doesn't have Geri's vivacity or vocal tone, and she may have been tiring . Its not clear why she's picked as the solo singer in the TV show , or that she's the one best vocally positioned to try and cover the group's songs solo. I thought Sally Dexter playing judge Simone was stuck with playing an Edina for what seemed interminable stretches, and Edina just isn't as convincing, or interesting as a singer or a judge, as a Sharon or Cheryl. There's something seriously odd though when you use a song in a way that makes it clear how brilliant at singing her own hits Melanie C is.
Musically, its consistently odd. There seems to be the alternative musical - that uses the songs more like WWRY or Mamma Mia - more like the original and more as big group production numbers- trying to get out. Spice Up Your Life hints at another show that might have been - but why raise hope by playing/dancing to it, and then not have anyone singing it? And, as if they realised that they had forgotten the Spice Girls, what a lot of people really really wanted, turns up at the end. Before that, it depends if you think its wise to turn one of the best Spice Girl's songs into a (good , effective) comedy sketch, when you only have a few to sing, or to sing Viva primarily as a male solo, when its really beautiful conclusion needs two matching female voices, or to choose songs that most people will have skipped on the CD to sing out in full, while leaving real favourites out. It does look like what you would get it if you dumped a big heap of lyrics in some writer's lap who didn't actually know many of the songs at all.
I thought it was worth seeing. Once anyway. I would buy a cheaper ticket though as the only advantage of a forward stalls seat is a close look at Tamara's tattoos. 9 to 5 is more fun, and has a better book and vocals . WWRY has the magnificent Rachel John, bigger numbers and was cheaper last time I sat in the same row. ...........Ghost was far better.
Posted Shady23 on 14 December 2012 - 07:59 PM
Posted Matthew Winn on 12 December 2012 - 03:59 PM
Posted Kathryn2 on 12 December 2012 - 01:56 PM
Yes, but in the beginning, the sales were so negatively affected by the reviews, everyone in the show was informed they would be closing by September if things didn't turn around. Then they performed at the Queen's Jubilee concert and it took off from there. Somehow, I don't think VIVA FOREVER will be able to pull that miracle off as the word of mouth from pretty much everyone is as horrific as the reviews. But then Judy Craymer has enough money to keep the show running at a loss for about 85 years, so who knows?
The thing about WWRY is that it's got some genuinely brilliant songs incredibly well-sung, and, since Freddy Mercury is sadly no longer with us, people don't have the opportunity to see the original versions performed live any more. Plus, there's a nice little tribute to the man himself in there. And althought the plot is nonsensical, it is quite funny in places. It's basically sing-along-a-Queen, and occasionally Brian May even turns up on stage to join in.
The Spice Girls are all alive and kicking, and reformed for a tour not so long ago - which didn't get great reviews. Really dedicated Spice fans are more likely to want to see the real thing than a pale imitation, especially if the songs are not well arranged or perfromed.
Posted Parsley on 12 December 2012 - 01:05 PM
They had this coming.
It's made my year.
It has restored my faith in theatre critics and also the whole point of having professional reviews.
To help guide the theatregoing public.
And to avoid them wasting their hard earned money.
I thought it was very odd that the Guardian sent a "music critic" (if you can call him that) to see a theatre show. As a result he has been rather generous with the star rating. Hah!
The Standard **
The Express **
Daily Mail *
Time Out *
The Mirror- negative review
The Stage- negative review
Happy Xmas Judy Craymer!
Sorry, just read Peter Brown's review on londontheatre.co.uk and almost p***** myself laughing,
"...the production values are high and the songs are well-sung"