Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Daniel Boys. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Daniel Boys. Sort by date Show all posts

Monday, 24 February 2020

The Pirate Queen, London Coliseum | Review

The Pirate Queen (Concert)
London Coliseum
Reviewed on Sunday 23rd February 2020 by Hope Priddle

The Pirate Queen sailed into the London Coliseum for a one off charity concert in aid of Leukaemia UK. Set in 16th Century Ireland, Boublil and Schönberg's musical tells the real life story of fearless mariner Grace O’Malley as she embarks upon a heroic struggle to defend her homeland from English rule. A tale of politics and passion, The Pirate Queen is an inspiring story of one woman’s efforts to determine her own destiny in a world run by men.

Rachel Tucker shines in the titular role. Tucker is feisty and fearless, perfectly capturing O’Malley’s youthful optimism in the opening scenes of Act 1. Her voice soars across the auditorium as she performs Woman. Likewise, Tucker beautifully explores O’Malley’s tender side as a mother, daughter and lover. The intimate duets she shares with Jai McDowall as sweetheart Tiernan and Father Dubhdara, played powerfully by Earl Carpenter, are highly moving.

Hannah Waddingham had a hard task playing Queen Elizabeth I, an imperious foil to Tucker’s spirited O’Malley. However, she undoubtedly excelled in this role. Waddingham was poised and dignified, commanding every scene with her impressive operatic prowess.

Daniel Boys provided excellent comedic relief as the unfoundedly arrogant and hapless Lord Bingham, one of two antagonists alongside Grace’s husband and eventual betrayer Donal, played by the terrific Matt Pagan.

It is however, Jai McDowall as Tiernan who steals the show with his rendition of I’ll Be There. He is endearing and charismatic as O’Malley’s sweetheart who proves his unconditional love for his Pirate Queen on more than one occasion.

The ensemble and choir are vocally assured and provide some beautiful harmonies. They are best showcased in a rousing rendition of Sail to the Stars which brings the first act to a swelling crescendo.

Special plaudits must also go to choreographer Jack Ludwig, who’s sharp and spritely Irish dance numbers inject the piece with joyful energy.

Technical elements work together to elevate this semi-staged production, despite a few niggles with mics early on. Lighting and visuals by Ben Rogers are simple yet effective. Painterly illustrations depicting the Irish Coast and English Royal Court provide a pleasing backdrop, while the use of coloured lighting seamlessly signals a shift between land and sea. A single purple spotlight shone upon Elizabeth and Grace as they converse in Act 2 was an especially nice touch; this royal hue indicated a meeting of two equals, both noble in character if not in title.

Fran Levin’s costumes are timely and sympathetic, yet mostly modest. Hannah Waddingham is an exception here; she looks suitably regal in Elizabeth’s embellished gown towering over O Malley’s boyish and diminutive frame.

Though the performances are indeed outstanding, the score so often borrows melodies from Les MisĂ©rables and Miss Saigon that it becomes somewhat predictable. Boys’ll be Boys is a fun but ultimately trifling homage to Master of the House. In short, unashamedly familiar tunes followed by unfamiliar lyrics resulted in an effect which was at times jarring.

While audiences may find this musical too repetitive to work as a fully realised production, The Pirate Queen provided an evening of outstanding vocal talent and swashbuckling storytelling.

photo credit: Earl Carpenter

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Falsettos, The Other Palace | Review

The Other Palace 
Reviewed on Thursday 5th September 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
Despite feeling a little too long and being shrouded in recent drama, the current production of Falsettos at The Other Palace makes it clear why this musical was nominated for five Tony Awards in 2017. 
The musical in its current form is based on three one-act musicals which have been fused together by James Finn and William Lapine. It began in 1979 with In Trousers, followed by March of the Falsettos in 1981, and Falsettoland in 1990. In 1992 these were combined to create the show which played on Broadway for over a year and is currently making its UK premiere.
Falsettos begins with the hilarious 'Four Jews in a Room Bitching' where we are introduced, as the name suggests, to four Jews and "one half-jew". Throughout the show we learn about a family as they crumble and put themselves back together. Family patriarch Marvin (Daniel Boys) is falling in love with a charming man, Whizzer (Oliver Savile) and is ready to leave his wife Trina (Laura Pitt-Pulford) and son Jason (Albert Atack). Meanwhile Trina gets closer to her therapist, (Joel Montague).
PJ McEvoy's set of blocks which are moved around to form the various locations, are highly effective and just simplistic enough to provide interest without taking away from the emotional songs. Bright, evocative lighting by Nic Farman is equally entertaining.
Although this show does feel a tad too long, with a lot of songs crammed in and not a whole lot of story, there's no denying that it's fabulously staged and features an absolutely stellar cast. Laura Pitt-Pulford brings the audience to rapturous applause with her stellar rendition of 'I'm Breaking Down'. In fact, this is a cast made up of crystal clear singers with perhaps some of the best placement on the West End. Natasha Barnes and Gemma Knight-Jones brings lightness and power both vocally and physically as the "lesbians next door", and Oliver Savile also provides many stand out vocal moments. The entire team act through song fantastically and truly bring out the best of the work, whilst, Chris Whybrow's sound design highlights the strong vocal techniques which course through the cast.
The show is pretty much sung through, with a variety of rhythms, colours and musical feels. There's humour and heartbreak and a warm sense of conversation throughout. Intricate but not in-your-face Falsettos is a must-see reminder of human love; and a great example of how moving music can be.
photo credit: The Standout Company