Bought the CD several years ago and was unimpressed: saw the show on impulse and was bowled over. Like Assassins,Sweeney Todd and Passion, this is not a show for big commercial stages and the Donmar's intimacy served it well. Performances were outstanding and (my current bete noire) the use of mic'ing was
admirabl restrained with every voice sounding natural and bell-clear. The emotional impact was impossible to resist, the combination of lyrics/music and storytelling making the hair frequently stand on end and involuntary tears flow. After such indiffernet duds as Bad Girls and the Rent 're-mix' this show reveals the wonder of a well-written musical theatre piece - but one that has to be seen rather than just listened to in the comfort of one's onwn home. - cjb
25 Nov 07
Why have the Donmar put this on? I guess I can answer that question myself from a simple two lines, which could go almost unnoticed in the program, which thanks Arielle Tepper Madover for her generous support. Support which seems to have extended to influencing artistic control. This is not a good musical. It has been undoubtedly well staged and cast with talented actors - in particular the mesmerising Bertie Carvel as the protaganist Leo Frank - perhaps the most compelling performance I have seen on stage this year. But why the songs though? I know, I know it's a musical. There is something about American theatre, and by that I mean New York theatre, which will try to turn anything into a musical. I can't wait (Oh! yes I can) the arrival of "Anne Frank - the Musical". Everytime the songs stopped my interest returned until I got jolted out of the drama again by another number. OK, some of the music was, well, OK - but so what. Perhaps only Mr Sondheim should have had the nerve to attempt the subject of this show - unfortunately he didn't! - rds
17 Nov 07
Briliant, Brilliant, Brilliant, if I could give this production ten stars I would as rarely in the west end will you see a more superbly acted and sung musical with a great story too. This musical needs to be seen by a wider audience and transfered to another west end theatre as soon as possible after this limited season at the Donmar. - ILS
15 Nov 07
Wow. Just as the West End needs successful feel-good commercial shows of high quality (like Hairspray), they have to be accompanied by this sort of show. The writing is absolutly sensational and the show draws you in and takes you on the emotional journey intended. So much so that I found i was totally exhausted when I walked out the theatre. Much of this is due to the fact that the show has found the perfect theatre for it. Parade requires an intimate venue because it maximises the power of the plot, and the Donmar affords it this setting. The vocals of the performers cannot be equalled either. The staging allows the audience an integral part in the show (especially at the end of Act One in the courtroom). Of course, the issues tacked and the plot itself, are at times deeply disturbing and uncomfotable; but performed appropriately. The subjects tacked are IMO far from inappropriate- in fact its by tackling them that we are reminded of existing prejudices and the dangers of stereotyping and blaming minorities. It is a must see whilst at its current location, and when it does close at the Donmar, deserves a transfer to a theatre of similar size so it can continue to move people. Its a rare peice of original, and intelligent musical theatre. - Richard
03 Nov 07
I'm a big fan of musicals and some of my favourites have serious subjects - Romeo & Juliet, The Hired Man, Billy Elliott to name but three. Though I admire the staging and craftsmanship of this one, I'm afraid that on this occasion the subject matter - rape and murder - just doesn't work as a musical for me. Based on other reviews and the audience reaction, I am clearly in a minority though! - Gareth James
31 Oct 07
Parade features a variety of musical styles abd the second half flags a bit. It is also possibly too big for the Donmar as being so close plays havoc with the sound balance at times. However, this is really nitpicking because Parade is a very impressive, powerful and moving show. The victim of this notorious miscarriage of justice is cleverly portrayed as a less than sympathetic figure but it is the efforts of his wife which make the eventual outcome so emotional. It is astonishing that one review apparently killed off this so American musical in New York but Broadway's loss is certainly our gain. In a West End now overflowing with too many trivial cash-in musicals Parade reminds us what a superior art form it can be. - David Baxter
24 Oct 07
At last, a musical with a heart and soul! Sondheim, eat your heart out!
Best directed and choreographed theatrical performance I have seen for years. - Derek Palmer
08 Oct 07
Why not make a musical out of "The Crucible"? Here, superb music, excellent songs, and fine acting are wasted on a piece that pushes an already melodramatic script over the edge to ludicrousness. Just imagine Judge Danforth breaking into song during the trial, or Proctor singing "No, They Can't Have My Name" and you have this production in a nutshell. - Kevin Hoggard
06 Oct 07
How great to see an orginal, new musical opening in London!
This is an important piece of musical theatre, built on solid lyrics and score. It is clear that Jason Robert Brown has been hugely influenced by Stephen Sondheim and the musical is all the better for it.
A quite simple, yet beautifully designed production at every level, it features some performances of great quality - Mark Bonnar gives a compelling performance as Dorsey, there is strong singing especially from Shaun Escoffery and Malina Parris and in Lara Pulver and Bertie Carvel we have the best musical performances I've seen on any London stage this year. Lara's Lucille is strong and compassionate, a finely judged performance and Bertie's Leo is a performance on the edge - nervous and full of depth. Both sing powerfully and must surely have great future's ahead of them in musical theatre.
At the peformance I saw, the company were given a rousing standing ovation. It was much deserved! - Paul Wallis
05 Oct 07
Sorry I omitted the 5 stars to add to my comments - and five still does not seem enough! - Owen
03 Oct 07
First observation, this is one musical that does not pause or even allow the audience to applaud - and neither do the audience attempt to as the story of Leo Franks unfolds. The structure and intelligence of the writing and beauty of the music and lyrics holds you gripped. Finally the emotions are released as the cast come on for their bows. The reaction by the audience was almost as moving as the story with many visibly wiping tears away as the audience rose in appreciation and admiration. Bertice Carvell & Lara Pulver give performances which I truly hope justice prevails when award time comes around as too Rob Ashford for his faultless direction - unmissable. - Owen
03 Oct 07
I thought it was truely amazing...perfectly coreographed and directed! loved it loved it loved it!!
However, i didnt understand the parts of lila and young / old soldier ??? - Bex
02 Oct 07
Went to see the show last night after listening to the CD for months. Really enjoyed it. Compressing it onto a small stage and with a small cast brings out lots of imaginative ways of telling a very moving story. Bertie Carvell & Lara Pulver are superb as Mr & Mrs Frank, but Sean Escoffery almost steals the show. The ensemble singing is excellent and the minimalist set really works. After the show, my wife said that she had never been to a musical where there was no applause at the end of each number but a standing ovation at the end of the show. But that's the kind of musical it is, theatre with music. Highly recommended. - Lee Powell
28 Sep 07
The Donmar is absolutely my favourite theatre in London and I always have high expectations of its productions. Parade is an intriguing story that the exceptional cast performs with great skill and energy on the intimate Donmar stage. I hope that Bertie Carvel and Lara Pulver do get Oliviers for their performances. I cannot recollect the last time I gave a standing ovation for a performance but I found myself genuinely leaping to my feet along with the rest of the audience.
We went with a friend who had seen the original New York production (rated it highly)and said that this latest version outclassed it. In my opinion, Parade is not to be missed & is a real coup for a directorial debut. - Ali Miller
25 Sep 07
A simple but quite stunning piece of theatre which just happens to be a musical. Probably the best show in town. - Tim Coldron
25 Sep 07
The best musical I've seen in years. Bertie Carvel and Lara Pulver are outstanding and deserve Olivier Awards, in my opinion, as does the production. - Jack Stewart
25 Sep 07
Quite a poor production of an excellent and moving show. Some ropey acting, but also some exquisite acting too and generally the singing was excellent. Lara Pulver as Lucille, and Mark Bonnar as prosecutor Hugh Dorsey were particular stand-outs I thought. Whilst overall I thought the show to be too big for the tiny Donmar stage and in need of the expansion it deserves, some moments ended up being far too subtle. It seems that this production is lacking direction, and I found the staging to be particularly weak. Above all else, I'm not sure I can quite believe that this guy's directorial debut is happening at the Donmar! - JohnPaul
25 Sep 07
This beautifully choreographed production has an elegance and dynamic energy which is completely absorbing, and it is enhanced by fine tunes and an interesting storyline based on a true case which occurred in 1913. Even if you are not mad about musicals but like the theatre you will love this. If you are keen on musicals then this is not to be missed. - kilburncat
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