And the final scene is odd, dark and slow, with Chino in the distance on a pile of rubbish. There was also about a 2 second delay between the gun being pointed, then lowered, then a pyro going off (I think Damian Buhigiar had to reach down and activate something), but they may as well just use a recorded gunshot.
It was such a shame that the gunshot didn’t work last night because it is so effective when it does work. They obviously have the back up plan in place, but I wonder if they might consider changing it/bringing in a recording now because those few seconds of delay did kill the tension a bit.
Caught third (?) Preview tonight and overall enjoyed it, but feel like there was something missing from it.
The positives: design is great. Loved the clever use of the big piece that had all the locations built in to it, that worked well. Thought the orchestra was fantastic - for a score like this, having 17 players makes a lot of difference to the feel you get. Cast all sound very good overall, with Carly Mercedes Dyer being the absolute star as Anita. Both 'America' and 'A Boy Like That' were fantastic.
The negatives: it felt very apparent that they'd gone for singers and dancers who sort of act, because no one apart from Carly gave a strong acting performance. Jamie Muscato has the voice for Tony, but I got NOTHING from his acting. Likewise, the girl playing Maria is not a good actress (the scene where she is told Bernardo has died is... Not good) and she's also not particularly strong vocally - I was never confident that she was gonna hit those super high notes. The use of the young company was TERRIBLE. They got shoehorned in a couple of times - once for a really bad dance break out of Somewhere. Just didn't work for me. The second half so felt very flat - I cry at anything in theatre (even stuff that isn't sad) and I didn't at what should be one of the most tragic endings to a show ever. It just felt like it lost its way in act 2 and didn't really recover.
I'd give it 3 stars, but I have a feeling a lot of critics will pick up on the fact that a lot of the performances are not consistent in all three areas. Most of them excel in one or two, with only one triple threat (Carly as Anita)
Post by winonaforever on Nov 29, 2019 12:32:33 GMT
Trekked all the way to Leicester to see this yesterday (all for the sake of seeing Jamie M, who was well worth the long train journey!) Also really enjoyed seeing Carly Mercedes Dyer, who I liked a lot when I saw her in Ain't Misbehavin' at the Southwark Playhouse. Interesting to see the Curve for the first time. I'd like to go back there sometime, just wish it wasn't so far from London...
Interesting to see the Curve for the first time. I'd like to go back there sometime, just wish it wasn't so far from London...
Isn't Leicester only about an hour from London by train? I think that's pretty close! I've seen half a dozen productions at the Curve over the years & Leicester is 1h45 by train from me.
On the way back now from Leicester and is a bloody nightmare as no trains between Bedford and Market Harborough,so added 90 minutes to my journey, so missed the start of West Side Story and intended to see Richard III at the Globe on the way back, so won’t now make that and no point going if you miss the start as that is the best bit, with Richard’s great speech.
yeap should be an hour if you get the fast Sheffield train, but do check for engineering work, I wish I did!
Post by AddisonMizner on Nov 30, 2019 19:53:35 GMT
I thoroughly enjoyed the matinee today.
The show really is a jewel. The material is so current and fresh over 50 years since it was premiered, and it could quite easily have been written yesterday. Themes of gang violence, loss of innocence and love are eternally relevant. The theme of immigration is brought to the fore by the beautiful opening tableaux. The score is as glorious as ever, played by a stunning 16 piece orchestra. Vocally, it is mostly well served, but I do like to hear classically trained voices in this material. I think I am the only person in the world who loves Bernstein’s own recording with Kiri Te Kanawa and Jose Carreras.
The production is modern, vibrant and has lots of attack. I loved how they didn’t allow time for applause after certain numbers, so as to keep the dramatic momentum. I loved the set, and thought that the use of lighting to punctuate different moments was excellent.
I liked most of the direction, however I felt they could have slowed some moments to allow them to land more emotionally. The scene where Maria is told of Bernardo’s murder was one such moment. They could have held that moment even longer then they did. Saying that, STORY. I was welling up during the Balcony Scene, and I Have A Love (one of my favourite moments in the score - it is just so simple both musically and lyrically, and therefore beautiful) in particular.
I wasn’t overly enamoured by the new choreography. For me, there really didn’t seem that much to it. It really is easy to see why Jerome Robbins choreography has been used consistently up until this point.
Despite clear reservations, this is well worth going to see.
For those who have seen both, how does it compare to the Exchange production? I am thinking of booking that now, as I missed it last year.
At the Saturday evening show tonight and along with a packed and expectant crowd was blessed to see the definitive version of the worlds’ greatest ever musical.Saw the REX version and enjoyed it,but this is on a different level altogether.The huge spacious Curve stage is utilised brilliantly for the sharp energetic and perfectly drilled choreography by Ellen Kane. A very gritty and visceral production with not a weak link in the lead roles or the ensemble.Muscato,Ivelisse and Mercedes Dyer are simply brilliant.Fight scenes look like the actors are genuinely out for blood! Nice to see the Curve Youth Theatre group getting a moment or two to shine especially in ‘Somewhere’. Triple level set for the interior rooms and exteriors that reek of urban decay.The giant American flag used is faded,tattered and torn to match the broken American dreams of the warring gangs who fight for a scrap of worthless territory because that is all they know and all they have left. The 16 piece orchestra bring real depth and richness to the score.Vocal performances were some of the best I have ever heard.Hats off to the sound designers. Saw the show in 84 and again in 97/8 in the UK with the original staging,but Nikolai Foster has re-invented this and made it feel frighteningly topically and relevant.Some wonderful dramatic flourishes including the ethereal desending dresses,the flashback to the killings staged MMA style and the cleverest ever staging of ‘Gee Officer Krupke’ as a cheesy music hall pastiche (Archie Rice in The Entertainer came to mind)which is a work of genius. Personally had many unforgettable MT memories this calendar year with DEH,CFA,Madison County,Fiddler etc,but this ranks with the best. Miss it and miss out IMO.
Saw the matinée today, and loved this! Stagecraft, choreography, orchestra all perfection, and in Adriana Ivelisse you've got a really youthful, spontaneous and pliant Maria who is just heartbreaking! Wonderful!
Some spoilers follow. . .
I agree with most of the positive comments above, so I'll be brief.
Jerome Robbins may have been replaced as choreographer here, but what is so noticeable is how much he's still there: in all the spaces he created for the choreography to take the full weight of the show, keeping Sondheim silent at critical moments so that vigorous, staccato and muscular dance can convey all the exuberance, abandon, bravado and mindlessness of gang life! Ellen Kane fills these spaces intelligently and exhilaratingly!
I assume there's a good chance this won't transfer to London because of rights issues, in which case we in London are lucky Leicester is so close (only an hour by train, but also doable by the much cheaper coach). And given how brilliant the score is, how dramatic and dreamy the story, this is well worth the trip I feel.
Jamie Muscato has a beautiful sonorous voice, and plays Tony as a sensitive dreamer, if one limited in the full range of emotional expression by his macho history. But if Tony's emotional expression is a tad limited, Adriana Ivelisse more than makes up for this, as she is a river of youthful feelings, an avatar of first love of the most tender, thrilling and open kind, a perfect Juliet!
Ivelisse's lips, mouth, face, hands, her whole body, all seem to bend her Maria to Tony's shape when he is near, beckoning him on. From the moment she falls in love, you believe that Tony is the only thing on her mind, as she embraces mannequins, pillars, anything to keep him constantly alive in her mind. It's a really touching performance, and it makes her duets with Muscato electric, and her solos mesmerising.
What is most beautiful about the production for me, is how, despite the dirty makeup of the Jets, despite fences caging the gangs like prisons, despite the muscular and buoyant choreography of gang violence from an energised and aggressive ensemble, the choreographer and director always carve a delicate and gentle space through it all for Ivelisse and Muscato to float through the production like love's young fleeting dream. Exquisite!