By the way; time after time The Landor (under the artistic direction of Rob McWhir) brings West End production values to an Ďup your streetí intimo venue. The performances, vocals, orchestra, lighting, set and graphics are all excellent in this show. Last night is this Satí 7th April so catch it while you can. - Jimmie Pullin
01 Apr 12
Second viewing on the equinox and as expected honed to near perfection. As always I recommend going twice to most shows and this occasion proved well worth it. Two star is harsh but Ellisís negatives are aimed solely at the writers rather than the excellent performance delivery by all concerned; without exception. The show touches on the emergence of stage writers [in deference to actors adlibbing plot, and thereby copyright laws c.1710], Euro' touring entertainment as was, inevitability, and bequeathing our own requiem. Jodie Beth Meyer [Armanda Ragusa] assists in this task most poignantly. First act Absalon is my faví tune during which a pivotal element of plot is narrated. A fast pace and vg programme worth reading pre-show. - Jimmie Pullin
26 Mar 12
This is the third Flaherty & Ahrens musical here at the Landor in six months, and this time a European premiere of their latest (2007) show. There was a wonderful revival of Ragtime back in September and Lucky Stiff just last month was great fun.
You have to admire this pair for the range of their subjects; this time its 16th century Italian Commedia dellíArte! We follow a troop of street players as they enact scenes and their relationships are revealed. Itís somewhat broad and crude, in keeping with the style it pays homage to (and suggests is the origin of much modern comedy) and there are some nice songs, particularly those of Columbina and Armanda at the start of the second half, which are beautifully sung by Kate Brennan and Jodie Beth Meyer.
Robert McWhirís staging is excellent, with a lovely period design from Martin Thomas and (yet again) great lighting by Howard Hudson. The opening and closing scenes, with the players behind gauze, are particularly effective. The string / woodwind / piano quintet under Joanna Cichonska, playing new orchestrations by Niall Bailey, produce a sound which is simply gorgeous. I applaud the lack of amplification, but the sound is probably better balanced further away from the band. Iím afraid I thought Mike Christieís Flaminio was a weak link in the casting, which was otherwise very good, and its a crucial role.
The problem with the evening is the structure of the show Ė itís just a series of scenes which hang loosely together, leaving you wanting more of a narrative. Itís the weakest of the six musicals Iíve seen from this pair, but itís a good production and still worth catching if youíre a musicals junkie like me! - Gareth James
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