Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Claire Moore. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Claire Moore. Sort by date Show all posts

Sunday, 26 August 2018

On The Town (Prom 57), Royal Albert Hall | Review


Prom 57: On The Town (BBC Proms)
Royal Albert Hall 
Reviewed on Saturday 25th August 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

What better way to celebrate what would have been Bernstein's 100th birthday, than at the Royal Albert Hall with a glorious performance of On The Town?! Written in 1944 with Adolph Green, Jerome Robbins and Betty Comden, this show is a light-hearted look at love which takes place over 24 hours in New York and is accompanied by beautifully woven music.

The plot follows three sailors who are in the Big Apple for one day only. Their time soon becomes commanded by some humourous, strong, powerful women who provide a larger than life experience. Each character is memorable and brilliantly performed by the stellar cast which celebrates some of the best the West End theatre scene has to offer. 

Each cast member came at their roles with vigour and embraced both the humour and more nuanced moments, fantastically. Whilst the humour is repetitive at times, it was very well pulled off, with well timed motifs remaining humourous instead of grating, especially the entrances of Pitkin (Barnaby Rea) whilst his fiancé Claire (Celinde Schoenmaker) and Ozzie (Nadim Naaman) were getting closer and closer.


Nathaniel Hackmann's smooth vocals were especially striking as the lovestruck Gabey, whilst Siena Kelly was perfectly flirty and humourous as Miss Turnstiles, Ivy Smith. Claire Moore was equally witty as drunken singing teacher, Madame Dilly, and earned several laughs from the audience.

Whilst the entire leading cast were extremely strong, it was Come Up To My Place, a back-and-forth duet by Hildy (Louise Dearman) and Chip (Fra Fee) which provided the most memorable scene of the night.

This very simplistic concert, whilst beautifully staged by Martin Duncan, with basic projections and innovative prop usage, really just highlighted how stunning the score of On The Town is. The music has wit and sharpness embedded in it which brings the story to life without a need for dramatic sets and scene changes.


John Wilson brought the vivid score to life, conducting the London Symphony Orchestra with energy and bringing out flawless sounds. The varied musical sections showcased the adaptability and versatility of the orchestra and really evoked feelings of the golden age.

The full-house of the Royal Albert Hall were treated to a truly spectacular performance which you would be a fool to miss on BBC catch up! Full of joy and life, watching On The Town was a joyous experience.

photo credit: Mark Allan

Friday, 24 February 2017

The Girls, Phoenix Theatre | Review



The Girls
Phoenix Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 22nd February 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★★★


I'm going to start off by saying that this musical has flaws but they can be easily overlooked to enjoy this beautifully sweet and touching musical.

The story of The Girls was previously on the West End as a play but this new revival with music by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth, has brought new life to it and really given it star treatment. The score is sweet and full of storytelling, although some parts are a little over the top and very "la la la, I'm going to sing a very literal song about my life now" they all work together to produce a lovely piece of theatre. You are sure to leave feeling inspired, joyous and full of laughter.

This show sums up Britishness. There are fetes, tea drinking, fish and chips and of course the typified version of green Yorkshire. The set is cleverly designed by Robert Jones with a mountain of kitchen cupboards creating the vast hills of England's countryside.

Personally I found the first half of the show dragged just a little as I was waiting for the calendar plan to appear which doesn't in fact happen until act two but the initial setting up of the storyline and many relationships is gracefully and tastefully done. Act two is full of laughs and moves at a much quicker pace with us finally seeing the iconic calendar shoot which is done hilariously!

This story is friendship is truly beautiful and is something that is universally relatable. The cast are all equally talented and their performances are refreshing and genuine throughout. The relationship between Annie (Joanna Riding) and Chris (Claire Moore) is especially touching and makes you value and appreciate your friends even more. The whole cast have wonderful chemistry with one another and really seem to enjoy their time performing.

The whole production is filled with light and positivity as well as showing the trials and hardships of life. In a time when it can often seem like women are always bringing each other down, it's lovely to see a show which restores your faith in friendship and sees such a strong group of women holding each other up and working together to create something beautiful. This is a lovely, reflective, heart-warming production which reminds us that there's always light even when we feel as though we're surrounded by darkness.

The Girls is currently playing at the Phoenix Theatre until July 15th 2017

Photo credit: Matt Crockett

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Sondheim on Sondheim, Royal Festival Hall | Review


Sondheim on Sondheim 
Royal Festival Hall
Reviewed on Thursday 15th March 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Stephen Sondheim is one of the most loved musical theatre composers ever but because so much of his music is deeply rooted into it's source shows, his songs are rarely performed in a revue style as it tends to make little sense. However, people often try to make it work which is how Sondheim on Sondheim, conceived by James Lapine, was born. Instead of just being a series of songs, it includes footage and commentary from Stephen himself.

There is a mixture of biographical footage as well as more musically descriptive passages which meld into the live performances. Particularly effective moments were when Sondheim describes the various opening numbers for A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum before they're sung live, and when he explains the musical complexities of Sweeney Todd as Julian Ovenden gives a rousing rendition of Epiphany.

The cast of this concert were sublime, with some outstanding ensemble moments including the jazzy, extra-swung version of West Side Story's Something's Coming. Claire Moore and Liz Callaway are both spectacular, with their touching mash up of Losing My Mind and Not a Day Goes By being a stand out of the night as well as their solo performances of Send in the Clowns and Buddy's Eyes. Julian Ovenden showed off his powerful voice in a number of songs, especially the glorious Finishing the Hat from Sunday in the Park with George


I felt that Rebecca Trehearn and Tyrone Huntley were underused in the concert. However, Rebecca's rendition of I Read and Tyrone's, Being Alive were absolutely wonderful. Both performers are firm favourites of mine and it was joyous to hear them backed by a full, flowing orchestra, even if it was only for a brief period. Damian Humbley replaced Ben Forster and provided some fantastic vocal moments, namely during Franklin Shepard, Inc.

Aside from the vocal performances, the BBC  Concert Orchestra were splendid, however at times, especially in the first act, the balance between them and the performers just didn't work and led to very uneven sound. At points it seemed like the microphones were not working at all whilst at others it sounded over amplified. 

Overall this was a beautifully moving concert with some light hearted moments as well as some more moving flashes such as when Sondheim describes his relationship with Oscar Hammerstein and talks candidly about receiving a letter from his mother saying she wished she never birthed him. I left the Royal Festival Hall in awe of the performers, in love with Sondheim's music and connected to him as a person. Of course we just saw him on screen but in his candid moments he came across as a genuinely kind person who adores music- something which we can all relate to.

Sondheim on Sondheim will be broadcast on Tuesday 20 March, 7.30pm on BBC Radio 3

photo credit: Mark Allan

Friday, 22 February 2019

Follies, National Theatre | Review


Follies
National Theatre, Olivier Theatre
Reviewed on Thursday 21st February 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

After its sold out run in 2017, Follies is back in true glamourous style as it follows a group of dancers reminiscing and reliving their youth. Mr Weismann's iconic theatre is being turned into a car park, so he's invited his past Follies dancers back to say one last farewell to the space. The walls of the theatre bring back memories and as we see childhood friends Phyllis and Sally reopen chapters they thought were closed, we are taken on a journey where past and present collide.

Dominic Cooke has once again directed a visceral and intense production. At 2 hours 15 minutes with no interval, the piece steadily flows and retains ferocity throughout. Vicki Mortimer's set and costumes are a spectacle in themselves; the crumbling theatre is periodically brought back to life by a subtle change and cleverly used to signify mental changes and journeys as well as the physical flashbacks. The costumes are elaborate and unique to each girl, with the delicate smatterings of jewels and sparkles, shining and flowing as they move around the stage.

Bill Dreamer's choreography brings the best of the Follies era to life  as the girls move around the stage gracefully, as if every movement is strategically planned for attention. Of course, the stand out choreographic moment is 'Who's That Woman' where the young and old combine to create a magical tap routine. Also, particularly striking is the way the young and old follies dancers, reflect themselves across the stage.


In terms of cast, you can't get much better than this one. Tracie Bennett's 'I'm Still Here' is a chill inducing, nuanced filled performance; whilst,  Claire Moore is hilarious throughout, no more so than in her gloriously sung, 'Broadway Baby'. Fellow The Girls alum, Joanna Riding is utterly outstanding as Sally. The transition from excitable girl, to fragile woman is perfectly performed, with 'Losing My Mind' providing a complete masterclass is acting through song and maintaining vocal technique even in moments of peak emotional earnestness. This intensity is mirrored by Gemma Sutton as Young Sally who is perfectly cast, alongside Christine Tucker as Young Phyllis, to show how we change, and how we remain the same.

Janie Dee is striking as Phyllis, whilst husbands, Buddy and Ben have great characterisation and development thanks to Peter Forbes and Alexander Hanson.

Whilst Follies is an outstanding piece of theatre, personally I feel a little far removed from the story; most likely because I lack the life experiences to relate on an emotional level. However, there's not denying that this is one of the most glitzy shows around, with one of Sondheim's finest scores and it's worth a visit to see how theatre should be done. Regardless of being able to relate, this is a marvellous piece of theatre. 

photo credit: Johann Persson