Firstly the orchestra is amazing. Secondly projections are used ALOT. All over the walls and various panels with old film clips or effects during scenes. Its normally very effective. Things like old movie clips and Norma's face ect. Twinkling lights, roads to depict driving scenes and such. Think Ghost or Curious incident. Danny Mac is fine.
Well i'd say i paid a pound for pretty much the same show as the punters paying £40 certainly tonight at least. No mess ups, no tech fails, no sound issues, no forgotten words, bum notes... pretty slick and well rehearsed and and the cast seemed to be giving it their all. Pretty pleased i decided to do this at the last min and try the dress rehearsal. I had envisaged things going wrong and show stops and stuff so well pleased.
On to my thoughts.
So first of all i just have to give top billing to the orchestra. It was a 16 piece orchestra and it sounded amazing playing that brilliant score. The music really is brilliant. It was just stunning and i got goosebumps at several points. Helped by the mixing and sound which was spot on already. It just honestly sounded brilliant. I've never experienced something like that at a show. Though i'm sure there are many on here who are used to things like that but i'm not.
On to the cast. They were all strong. Ria Jones was brilliant had a great voice, and particularly was strong towards the end when Norma was really descending. I know many were sceptical of Danny Mac as Joe and so i'm pleased to say i thought he was very good. I know the question was whether he'd be up to the score and to me he had a good voice, good power to it when needed and overall i thought he did very well.
All the other cast were good in their respective roles especially Molly Lynch as Betty and i liked Dougie Carter as Artie and would be interested in seeing his Joe. I think he'd be very good. I Maybe had a little issue with Adam Pierce as Max. He just seemed a bit comical with his looks and his ridiculously deep singing voice and i don't know if that's how it meant to be or not.
The set is basically a film studio lot/stage. That's the basic shell of it. Tiled walls with pipes and air vents and light and such and panels that represent the shutters/studio door which are either at the side or mid stage. When it's stuff set in the studio several extra pieces are rolled/brought on such as the famous paramount gates, lights, camera's, spot/camera platforms, bits of random set from films they are doing ect ect. For the mansion set the stage is dimmed and we have the big set piece staircase come on with various other bits of scenery such as the chaise lounge, piano, several candelabras , bookshelves ect ect. A shop frontage comes flying down for scenes in a bar (i think?). It was a good set. The thing is though because all the set is manually operated it can feel a bit clunky, the ensemble are constantly bringing things on and off and the staircase is rather cumbersome, especially as it is three pieces that come together and it seemed a bit of a effort for them. I expect that they will get slicker of course.
As mentioned i my interval post, there is heavy use of projections either to add to scenes or completely create them. So for example when Norma is singing about her past and career ect you'll have projections of her younger self posing or in film scenes on the back wall and side panels. That happened a few times and was very effective. There were several scenes of the characters driving and basically the whole stage would turn into a night time road with lights whizzing by and headlights ect ect as the car on stage is moved round by the ensemble. You'd see things like the Hollywood Sign or Paramount water tower projected on to the back wall, the night sky for outside scenes. Glittering lights for the new years eve party. Water effects everywhere for the poolside scene...(and yes Danny Mac wears swimming shorts and nothing else) and then in the scene where i'll just say Joe finished in the show....we see that whole scenario projected on to the stage panels (which they obviously filmed)...anyway you get the jist. They were gentle and dim, they weren't in your face or looked tacky (imo).
The costumes were great and yes their were several turbans.
All in all i really enjoyed it, more so act 2 i think and yes there are things that they probably need to iron out or get slicker at, i think especially the first couple of scenes which felt a bit manic and not quite smooth to me, but this was DR and i can't believe i saw a performance of that quality for £1!