Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Audrey Brisson. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Audrey Brisson. Sort by date Show all posts

Friday, 24 May 2019

Amélie (UK Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review

New Wimbledon Theatre
Reviewed on Thursday 23rd May 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 

The cult French film Amélie has been on a long journey to get to the UK and it's finally set down here for a shortbread-box-sweet tour which captures the whimsy and delight of the film wonderfully. 

Audrey Brisson plays Amélie the girl who grew up unloved but came to have a heart of gold as she sweetens the lives of others among the Paris streets. A host of characters surround her as bar staff, neighbours, customers and strangers. They also double as bohemian musicians, an element which really brings the show to life and adds to the floaty feeling of it all. 

Elliot Griggs' sepia toned lighting drenches the stage fantastically to create an intimate feeling. Madeleine Girling's set featuring a metro station, a photo booth and two worn pianos, doesn't change but rearranges to create the various atmospheres of the show. Amélie's bedroom is a lampshade lift up and perfectly sums up the sweet life she leads. When Amélie spot Nino (Danny Mac) at the train station, he soon becomes a focal point of romantic attention and the set almost seems to move around him at times. The combination of set, costumes, puppets and lighting all work together in a seamless fashion to bring the surreal imaginative aspects of the show to life.

Daniel Messé's music is fluent and catchy as we are transported around Paris, with Times Are Hard For Dreamers and Stay, providing the most memorable moments. Craig Lucas' book is somewhat wacky with gnomes and figs that come to life, but the fantastical element of it all is very enticing. Whilst there is a good flow to most of the show, it does feel just a tad too long, some splicing here and there would add shine to the gem it is. 

Audrey Brisson's beguiling interpretation of the lead character is truly what makes this show special. Her sublime voice and outstanding characterisation make her an ideal lead who enchants from start to finish. Danny Mac is suitably enigmatic and provides some swooping vocal moments. The ensemble throughout are masterful at what they do and this team production really does warm the heart.

This effective musical uses nuance, silence and soaring sound in equal measure as it tells a heart warming tale. For a sweet, whimsical night out, Amélie is certainly one to catch. Follow the blue arrows and check it out for yourself.

photo credit: Pamela Raith

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Amelie (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Tuesday 27th August 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 

This UK production of Amélie has the added pressures of comparing not only the classic, cult film, but also to the original Broadway run. However, this production has been vastly reworked from the version which premiered in the US and has brought back much of the typically French charm and nuance. The sweet tour (which is also heading to The Other Palace) is full of delight and provides a carefree way to spend an evening.

Young Amélie Poulain, initially portrayed by an adorable puppet, lives a sheltered life. Her mother and father, a neurotic and germaphobe respectively, mistake her heart full of love for one full of sickness, so they keep her inside, sheltered from any human interaction. When she leaves home, Amélie continues to live a quiet life on the outside but lives a loud one in her colourful mind. Inspired by the death of Princess Diana, Amélie tries to improve the lives of those around her through mysterious acts of kindness. However, when love comes her way she realises that she must risk her contentment and isolation if she's to reveal what's in her heart.

Craig Lucas' book is wacky and completely fantastical and allows us to see the world in a childlike way. This show is very different to much of the UK theatre scene right now and  it's lovely to see a story where almost all of the characters are motivated by kindness. Daniel Messé's gloriously French, folk score transports us to a world where positivity reigns, gnomes dance and cognac flows like water.

This flow is continued through Madeleine Girling's set which features two pianos, a photo booth and a metro station. The set morphs from one setting to another, often looking very similar but feeling completely different and evoking just the right atmosphere for each scene. Elliot Griggs' sepia, film lighting creates warmth and intimacy and feels completely natural. It should also be noted that Tom Marshall's sound design is excellent. The perfect amount of reverb makes the cast sound as though they are really wandering the streets of Paris as each line rings out clearly and cleanly.

Audrey Brisson is a complete marvel as the title character. With a sublime voice and a perfectly characterised performance, Brisson is enigmatic and beguiling from start to finish. Danny Mac is suitably aloof but charismatic as Nino and brings swooping vocals which fill the theatre with warmth. This is very much an ensemble piece, with them playing the various characters who impact Amélie's life, as well as bohemian musicians. The tight movement still manages to feel free as the cast whirl and flow around the stage in a very French and dreamy way. Mention must go to Caolan McCarthy as Elton John who gives a hilarious and vocally outstanding performance. Kate Robson-Stuart and Faoileann Cunningham also stand out in their fanciful performances. 

This quirky musical tells a heart-warming tale that's cinematic, intimate and bold all at once. For a wonderful, whimsical, wacky night, take yourself to Amélie Poulain's and see life through her marvellous eyes.

photo credit: Pamela Raith

Monday, 12 June 2017

La Strada, The Other Palace | Review

La Strada
The Other Palace
Reviewed on Thursday June 1st 2017 by Olivia Mitchell

La Strada is definitely the musical which I have been most pleasantly surprised by so far this year. I am a fan of going into shows without looking them up first and I went into The Other Palace with no idea what to expect; thinking I was going to see a cabaret, vaudeville like circus show but that was absolutely not the case. Based on Federico Fellini's 1957 Oscar winning performance,  La Strada tells the story of the young and naive Gelsomina who is sold by her mother to become the assistant to the touring gypsy, Zampanò: the "Strong Man". Her sister previously went to work for Zampanò and never returned so Gelsomina is struck with fear but fights and stays strong so she can send money back to her mother. This is ultimately the story of a young girl being taken advantage of purely because she doesn't know any better and because her circumstances don't allow her to escape.

The musicians play onstage in this piece and really bring it to life. A particular favourite moment was when everyone started clicking their fingers until the sound became overpowering and turned into raindrops. Each dramatic moment is heightened and an extremely visceral performance is created. This is helped along by Cameron Carver's brilliant movement which is extremely tight but looks natural and free. Flowing beautifully through moments and embodying each element that's being shown.

With credits including the National Theatre's Peter Pan, director Sally Cookson is know for her innovative, unique storytelling and has captured the themes and harshness of this story in a brilliantly imaginative way.

Finding herself trapped in Zampanò's world, wanting to escape but needing to make her mother proud we see the external and internal struggles of Gelsomina who is played so beautifully by Audrey Brisson. Capturing both her innocence and playfulness through the witty dialogue and  wide-eyed movements, Gelsomina becomes a character the audience grow to love and become extremely attached to. This is a wonderful contrast to the cruel, harsh portrayal of Zampanò by Stuart Goodwin. Although we see moments of kindness, these are rare and it is the overall menacing anger which fills the stage whenever the strong man is around.

Part way through, they meet, Il Matto (The Fool) played by Bart Soroczynski who acts as a friend and guide for Gelsomina who heartbreakingly confides in him that there isn't any point her being alive because she is good for nothing. Il Matto brings light and warmth to the story, with a carefree attitude and light movement, he is played wonderfully by Soroczynski.

La Strada is a masterclass in storytelling and Cookson has created a faultless production which draws the audience in and takes them along the road which Gelsomina and Zampanò travel along. The piece is fresh and engaging and the constant movement makes it feel alive, it's truly compelling to watch and I would highly urge you to see it.

La Strada runs at The Other Palace until July 8th.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Pinocchio, National Theatre | Review

Lyttleton Theatre, National Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 13th December 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 

Disney have given the stage rights of the Oscar-winning Pinnochio score to the team at the National Theatre who are on a mission to create their next theatrical spectacle. Based on the fable by Carol Collodi, this show tells the story of a Geppetto, a puppeteer who longs for a child. One night he is visited by a mystical lady who commissions a new puppet to be made out of her own enchanted wood. This puppet needs no strings and is for all intents and purposes, a boy... except for the fact he's made of wood!

Marketed towards "Brave 8 year-olds and above" this show is definitely darker and more sinister than the Disney classic. Featuring a strange Fox who's tail is full of magic and a host of other not so kind characters, this definitely has more depth than expected. I was throughly entertained by by both the child-aimed and adult-aimed jokes, of which there was a good mix  and all were pulled off well. 

The use of oversized puppets (designed by Tom Olie) is absolutely wonderful. The actors and puppets become one through their synchronised makeup and the way they move together. At first I was a little confused by the fact that the puppets mouths don't move as they speak, however, this issue melted away almost instantly and I found the lack of movement especially striking in first act when Stromboli became deathly angry; the contrast between the dramatic voice of   and the sinister smile on the puppet make my skin crawl.

As Pinoccio, Joe Idris-Roberts starts out throughly annoying, doing as he pleases with no care for his actions, however as he grows and develops  he becomes more likeable and his journey of self realisation is wonderful. He cleverly embodies childlike qualities and shows his 'wooden' side well, despite having no physical pointers. 

As his conscience, Audrey Brisson is hilarious. Dramatic and obsessive she manages to warm the audience to her whilst remaining extremely humourous. Again the link between her and her puppet, helped along by another puppet master is absolutely outstanding.

Mention must also go to Mark Hadfield who is sincere but strong as Geppetto (along with David Kirkbride). Especially in the opening scenes his acting and voice are really shown off and he gives a lovely performance. Dawn Sievewright also deserves notice for her energetic performance as Lampy in Pleasure Island (however I do think this scene could've been cut down slightly).

This is a magical, heart-warming production which uses a variety of theatrical devices in the purest and most masterful way. I'd certainly urge you to get to the National to experience it for yourself and be reminded of the importance of love and family.

Pinocchio runs at the National Theatre until April 2018.

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan