Monday, 27 March 2017

Review: The Glass Menagerie

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of The Glass Menagerie.
This is a show that my friend @BroadwayBobNYC says is in his top plays list, so I decided to go along and see it, just to see if I agreed. The Glass Menagerie is a really interesting piece of drama. It follows a story which I think that the majority of families are able to relate with. The characters are a part of a dysfunctional family, which many of us have. It may have been written in 1944, but it is still relevant  today. A show such as this one heavily relies on a good cast, and I think this production is lucky enough to have that. I give high praise to Cherry Jones, Michael Esper and Kate O'Flynn, all of which I thought were amazing! I have to admit, I wasn't  a huge fan of Brian J. Smith, however I am aware I am in the vast minority in that opinion. I'm not sure what it was, in my eyes the performance didn't seem right. Many disagree however, so perhaps I'm missing something ? The production aspects of the show really shine, especially the lighting and costume design, however I did also like the set design. The show had one of the best production designs I have seen in a while. I cannot praise the production aspects enough, it is clear that a lot of detail has been put into them. Hopefully they will pick up a few Olivier's in these categories. The only negative that I can think of is that there were a few points in the show that dragged. The show runs at 2 hours and 20 minutes, including an interval. There was noticeably quite a bit that could be cut out. Having said this, I thought there were a smaller amount of times that dragged on during act two. Act two was amazing and featured some really astonishing acting.

The featured star of The Glass Menagerie is, drum roll please... MICHAEL ESPER!

I've heard a mixed response to Michael Esper's performance, but I thought he was amazing. He left a lot of mystery to the character of Tom, which worked perfectly. I found him, by far, to be the most interesting character. I truly believe this is due to Michael's acting. I thought he was phenomenal!

Now for my final verdict on The Glass Menagerie. I give The Glass Menagerie...

I give this rating because the show follows an interesting and relatable storyline, with a great cast and great production aspects. However, as I said, there were certain parts of the show which dragged on.

Think it should have got a higher rating? Agree with my rating? Think it should have got a lower rating? If so comment below. Thanks for reading.

I have some really exciting news... I will be heading out to America over Easter and will be catching a few shows! The reviews will be out as soon as I get back, so stay tuned!

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Review: Gaslight

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of Gaslight.
Mum and I picked up some last minute upper circle tickets at Richmond Theatre, which was somewhere I'd never sat before at that theatre. I've been going to Richmond Theatre for 9 years, and yet I've never sat in the upper circle! The view was actually really good. My knowledge of the show came purely from what I'd read in the programme just a few minutes before the show. I can happily say that I thoroughly enjoyed Gaslight! The show is a somewhat 'murder mystery', however the murderer is discovered fairly early in the show. The show continues with how the characters will act on this problem and what they must do. The story unravels more and more as the show goes on. Patrick Hamilton does well in building up suspense. Act two excels in this; it is in act two where it truly becomes absolutely fascinating. I especially loved the ending, which I don't want to spoil for those of you who haven't seen it. The show has a strong theme of domestic abuse and mental manipulation, which sadly still happen to this very day. In the end the woman is empowered, which delivers a strong message, and not one to be forgotten. There is a small cast of only five, all of which are amazing! They each contribute a lot to the show and no one becomes a weak link. This is one of the few shows I have seen lately where all the actors were on a par. The set, costume and lighting design were all great, I could not fault them in any way. What makes this particularly impressive is that it is a touring show, where it can be found that one of these (costume, set or lighting) is not always the best of quality. My only problem with the show is that I believe that act one could have been made slightly more interesting. I still liked act one, but there's always ways to improve. Anyway, the show is an absolute delight to watch and I cannot praise it enough. I think it would do very well if it transferred to the West End, specially either Trafalgar Studios or the Duke of York's Theatre.

The featured star of Gaslight is, drum roll please... KARA TOINTON!

This was a tough one to decide, as all five of the cast were great, but eventually I decided to choose Kara. Kara is outstanding! Her character of Bella is manipulated by her husband to make her think she is losing her mind, to the point where she is actually losing her mind. She portrays this perfectly and nailed the ending!

Now for my final verdict on Gaslight. I give Gaslight...

I give this rating because it was a really clever and inventive play that was able to keep me on the edge of my seat throughout the majority of the show.

Think it should have got a higher rating? Agree with my rating? Think it should have got a lower rating? If so comment below.

Join me next time when I will be reviewing The Glass Menagerie.

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Review: La Strada

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of La Strada.
I saw La Strada last Saturday (sorry for the delay in writing this!) at Richmond Theatre last minute, because what's better than great value-last minute tickets, right? Having gone last minute, I didn't even know if it was a play or a musical. Funnily enough, it turned out to be a play with music (the best of both worlds). La Strada follows a really inspiring and heartwarming story of "a care-free girl being sold to a travelling entertainer, consequently enduring physical and emotional pain along the way". The show keeps the audience gripped from start to finish. Even through a fairly minimal set, they are able to transport the audience to many locations with ease. The show features an international cast, who are all great. The three cast members who stood out the most were Audrey Brisson as Gelsomina, Stuart Goodwin as Zampanó and Bart Soroczynski as The Fool. Audrey Brisson's character of Gelsomina is a child/teenager and this is wonderfully portrayed through physicality, voice and facial expressions. There have been one or two cases recently where I've found that adults playing children hasn't seemed quite right, but Audrey does it perfectly. She also has a stunning voice, which I wish I had been able to hear more of. Stuart Goodwin is perfectly cast as Zampanó. Throughout the show he is constantly angry and aggressive, however in the final few moments of the show we see sadness and regret from his character. The transition to these feelings was done extremely well. Bart Soroczynski, as The Fool, is an incredible actor and showed a lot of depth to his character. The character came across as being very mysterious, leaving me to imagine his past. All the rest of the cast were also brilliant! I liked both the costume and lighting design, which serviced the show well. The show makes good use of physical theatre, which I believe was well integrated. As I mentioned previously, the show is a play with music (basically a non musical, that features music). The music was wonderful and I loved that the orchestra was onstage. My only quibble with the show if that there is a death scene of a supporting character in act two which felt very awkwardly staged. It's an important moment in the show, but it just didn't seem quite  right. I think this needs some further  rehearsing and a little bit more tweaking.

The featured star of La Strada is, drum roll please... AUDREY BRISSON!

Audrey is stunning, there is no other way to say it. The show just wouldn't be the same without her, she really contributes a lot to both the storyline and the show. Not only this, but she was an incredible singer!

Now for my final verdict on La Strada. I give La Strada...

I give this rating because it was a fantastic show that I enjoyed throughly. It doesn't quite get my top 5-star mark, but it's still a show I would highly recommend for its upcoming run at 'The Other Palace'.

Think it should have got a higher rating? Agree with my rating? Think it should have got a lower rating? If so comment below.

Join me next time when I will be reviewing Gaslight. 

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Review: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.
I had seen Daniel Racliffe star in The Cripple of Inishmaan back in 2013 and he was amazing in that, so I had high expectations for the show. Whilst I did think Rafcliffe was a good actor, I was not the biggest fan of this show. This show just wasn't my cup of tea. Something which doesn't help is that I had little to no knowledge of Hamlet beforehand and therefore didn't really get what was going on. Having said that, I don't think a show should rely so much on the audience having prior knowledge of other shows. Perhaps a 5 minute explanation at the beginning would have helped? It's not fair to assume the audience already know the storyline of Hamlet. I failed to become engaged with the story and sadly lost focus throughout several points of the show. I felt like there was little storyline for me to thoroughly get my teeth into. There was nothing that engrossed me. It seemed to be too long, to the point where it was just dragging on. Act two was better time wise, however act one went on for too long. Luckily, that is the end of my negatives, onto the positives! I thought the acting in the show was great, especially from Daniel Radcliffe as Rosencrantz, Joshua McGuire as Guildenstern and David Haig as The Player. I have to admit, I did prefer Daniel Radcliffe in The Cripple of Inishmaan as he had a better role in that show, but I still think he does a wonderful job as Rosencrantz. Joshua McGuire has a really large stage presence which worked extremely well for his character. David Haig's performance is phenomenal-I was seriously impressed with his portrayal of 'The Player'. The ensemble were also great. I thought that both the lighting and costume designs were done to perfection; they couldn't have been done any better! The set wasn't that large, but I found it very effective. I enjoyed act two a lot more than act one, as it was a lot more interesting.

The featured star of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is, drum roll please... DAVID HAIG!

David was an absolute star, his performance was utter genius. I missed him greatly when he was offstage, all the good parts of the show were when he was onstage. He was one of the saving graces of the show!

Now for my final verdict on Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. I give Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead...

I give this rating because it wasn't my 'cup of tea' and I was unable to keep focus throughout the whole show. Having said this, the show got a large applause at the curtain call, so it looks like I'm in the minority!

Think it should have got a higher rating? Agree with my rating? Think it should have got a lower rating? If so comment below.

Join me next time when I will be reviewing La Strada.

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Review: The Wild Party

Hey readers!
It's time for my review of The Wild Party.
The Wild Party is truly 'something else'. I have never seen anything quite like it. It was very unusual and interesting, which made for a nice change. The show comes across as being Chicago meets The Rocky Horror Show, having similar music and structure to Chicago and a similar story to The Rocky Horror Show. What really makes the show what it is, is its fabulous cast. The cast consists of top notch actors, including as Tony Award winners Frances Ruffelle as Queenie and Donna McKechnie. It also featured Basic Theatre Award nominee Ako Mitchell! The cast are absolutely outstanding I really don't think I would've enjoyed the show half as much without this cast. It is they that 'make' the show. They are all brilliant singers, which brings me onto the next point about the show... the score. The score is excellent, and as I mentioned, reminds me of Chicago. After listening to the Original Broadway Cast album twice, I have decided that I think the best songs are 'Queenie was a Blonde', 'Wouldn't It Be Nice?' and 'How Many Women in the World'. All the songs have something about them which are very catchy and memorable. The show is choreographed (as it is directed) by the excellent Drew McOnie. He choreographed In the Heights as well (which was amazing) and he was able to once again do a brilliant job. The Wild Party is playing at The Other Palace, where it is quite a small stage. However small the stage is though, they do wonders with it. I thought the orchestra on the upper part of the stage were well placed and the interaction between them and the actors worked so well. I also really liked the lighting design. I did think act two was a lot better than act one, due to the fact that act one is to get the story going and introduce everyone, whereas act two really had a "meatier" story. I feel that act one could be made shorter and act two could be extended. The show seemed to gave quite a slow beginning. Apart from this though, I thought it was an excellent show and it was interesting to see something so unique.

The featured star of The Wild Party is, drum roll please... JOHN OWEN-JONES!

John Owen-Jones is a tour de force in the role of Burrs. It is a really strong cast, and yet I went away knowing for certain he was the 'featured star'. He has an amazing stage presence and there was a lot to his character which seemed to be very well thought out.

Now for my final verdict on The Wild Party. I give The Wild Party...

I give this rating because it was a show that is extremely different and unique to the average show. It did have a slow beginning, but it truly does have a phenomenal cast and wonderful music.

Think it should have got a higher rating? Agree with my rating? Think it should have got a lower rating? If so comment below.

Join me next time when I will be reviewing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

Thanks for reading!

-The Reviewer