Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Jamie Platt. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Jamie Platt. Sort by date Show all posts

Thursday 5 March 2020

The Last Five Years, Southwark Playhouse | Review

The Last Five Years
Southwark Playhouse
Reviewed on Wednesday 4th March 2020 by Olivia Mitchell 

Originally premiering in Chicago in 2001 and then transferring to off-Broadway, Jason Robert Brown's song cycle musical was last seen in London in 2016 at the St James theatre. Chronicling a couple's passionate but ultimately doomed relationship, it is a brilliant exploration of life and cleverly plays with time; having one partner starting at the end of their story and the other at the start. They only overlap during their proposal and marriage mid way through.

This Southwark Playhouse production is a completely transfixing showcase of a spectacular musical. Jonathan O'Boyle's production is wonderfully staged and feels completely fresh in it's approach to the score and story. 

Lee Newby's set provides a fantastic canvas for the emotional drama to evolve, with small props effectively emphasising moments but always leaving the focus on the characters and their story. At times these props do feel a little too literal but they are so briefly used that it's barely an issue. There's always a sense of momentum in this piece thanks to the varying styles of Jason Robert Brown's music which keep the pace up. Additionally in this production, there is the use of a revolve which physically adds drive as it often seems to move clockwise for Jamie's plot and anti-clockwise for Cathy's- a very clever touch.

Jamie Platt's lighting is an especially enjoyable element of this musical, with contrast and darkness being used extremely well. A particularly effective moment is when the sun rises and the space is gradually transformed from a blue tinge to a warm orange.

Oli Higginson brings a great sense of journey to the up and coming writer, Jamie. Genuinely loving Cathy at the start, his self-absorbed personality and wandering eye soon become his, and the relationship's downfall. There's often an argument as to who was really in the wrong in this pairing and of course, both are to blame, but in the end Jamie really is a jerk and Oli does a great job of showing it. The contrast between the whimsy and elation in The Schmuel Song and the downright aggression in If I Didn't Believe in You, is highly effective. Higginson's accent does falter at times and occasionally the theatrical facade is broken, but overall his performance is joyous and enraging to watch.

As Cathy, Molly Lynch is just radiant. Rewinding from the bitter breakup to the jubilant start, Molly is consistently magnificent to watch. Vocally her performance is as clear as glass and beautifully controlled in her strong mix, but it's her acting which really brings her character to life. A mixture of nuanced and grand moments showcase the skills Molly possesses, and completely wrap you up in her journey. 

Plus, both actors bring their musician skills to the table, deftly swapping places at the piano. Their incompatibility is even highlighted as they aggressively accompany one another and often give particular attention to the discordant parts of the music, or the melodies which are repeated throughout but are continually out of sync with each other.

With humourous sequences (Jamie on facetime during A Summer in Ohio) and devastating moments of relationship failure, this really is a roller coaster gem of a piece. Brown's music gives so much to work with and the team on this production have really done an excellent job. The two leads are esteemed in their performances as they give a masterclass in acting through song that will break you and build you at once.

The Last Five Years plays at the Southwark Playhouse until 28th March

photo credit: Pamela Raith

Thursday 11 October 2018

Mythic, Charing Cross Theatre | Review

Charing Cross Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 10th October 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 

I have to start this review by saying that I need a Mythic cast recording right this moment! The entire show is super catchy and you can bet that if/when a recording is released, it's all I will be listening to. 

Mythic is a 90 minute, humourous, dynamic and all round brilliant show which looks at the Greek Gods in a way they've not been seen before. In this reinvention, we follow Young Persephone who is trying to find herself and her talent, whilst her mother (and Mother Earth herself) Demeter, is struggling to let her little girl grow and flourish in the way she allows her plants to.

Marcus Stevens and Oran Eldor's upbeat pop/rock score is catchy beyond belief, and features song after song that will keep you entertained and on your toes. From the moment the show opens the tone is set: we are in for a 90 minute comedic show that's fully self-aware and able to subtly look at some deeper subjects.

There's no denying that this show is cheesy but that's what makes it so great; from the use of props (shrubs which are tossed around the stage) to the joke filled lyrics, Mythic manages to balance humour and integrity well. The show could easily become a mess but instead it is sleek, and emphasises its cliches to make them thoroughly entertaining rather than draining.

The re-imagined Olympia certainly feels like party central, with the music creating the perfect soundtrack for a night out. The variations in moods are also achieved well, with highly uplifting numbers, as well as darker numbers and moving ballads. For the entirety of the show, Mythic manages to remain well-connected to the myths, whilst making the entire thing feel fresh and contemporary. 

The characters are highly stereotypical, with a sleazy father (Zeus), a daughter who feels trapped (Persephone), a typical bad-boy (Hades), an overprotective mother (Demeter) and an attention-deprived daughter (Aphrodite). However, they are more than they appear on the surface and are all well-rounded enough to make us really root for them and become invested in their struggles throughout the 90 minutes.

Mythic's five principles do a wonderful job of motoring the story along whilst providing well thought out performances. Daniella Bowen is suitably hippie and genuine as protective mother, Demeter. Her performance of What Mothers Have To Do shows her power as a performer and the whole role really showcases her versatility. As her daughter Persephone, Georgie Westall is a strong female lead; perfectly embodying the headstrong aspect of the character, without making her unlikable. Vocally she is super strong, with Irreversible providing a stand out moment and showing that Georgie is sure to be a name on the London theatre scene for the foreseeable future. 

Michael Mather does a brilliant job as the leather clad bad-boy Hades. Again showing versatility through his portrayal which is both fiery and vulnerable. His killer voice and great stage presence make Michael perfect for the role and his great chemistry with Georgie make them a perfect pair to play out this crazy love story.

Genevieve McCarthy is part Regina George, part Karen Smith in her portrayal of the wannabe daddy's girl, Aphrodite. Alongside Tim Oxbrow as Zeus, the father who's focussed on power rather than his daughter (well, one of them), there is great comedic timing and the duo work well together; especially towards the end when the dynamics change. The ensemble are supremely strong, supplying us with killer vocals and witty one liners throughout. Mentions go to Eloise Davies and Ben Welch who catch the eye in their various roles and, to the fantastic diction of the overall ensemble. For a show that is almost entirely sung through, we do not miss a word due to the fantastically sharp delivery from everyone.

Everything in this show works in precise union, with Lee Newby's costumes and sets not only matching the world of the God's but also highlighting and literally being highlighted by Jamie Platt's lighting design which is precise and not at all overbearing. Sarah O'Gleby has done a fabulous job with choreography and direction and whole piece just feels like a step in the right direction for theatre in the West End. For a godlike way to spend 90 minutes, don't look any further than the Charing Cross Theatre and Mythic.

Mythic runs at the Charing Cross theatre until 24th November

photo credit: Marc Brenner

Sunday 3 May 2020

The Return of the Movie Musical

During the Golden Age of Hollywood, movie musicals were abundant and arguably the most popular genre. However, with the move towards pop culture in the 1960s, their popularity dwindled and gave way to a more rebellious style and tone, which meant the all-singing, all-dancing, wholesome stories fell to the side.

Since then, aside from animated films, there have been a handful of live action musicals, with a few big hits such as Hairspray, Chicago and Mamma Mia!, but these have been largely hard to come by and a rare feature at the cinema. However, it seems that things are changing and we are in the midst of musicals coming back into the mainstream!

In some ways, the huge success of La La Land in 2016, a film which combined Old Hollywood with contemporary vibes, marked the return of movie musicals, with A Star is Born, Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman following in its footsteps and taking the box offices by storm. Disney's live action adaptations have also proved massive hits with Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King making huge profits. Of course there's also been the occasional flop... Cats.... (which I actually enjoyed) but on the whole, each release has highlighted the demand and appreciation for musical theatre.  

It seems that Hollywood are finally taking note of the power of theatre people and are giving us the sweet, sweet, high quality films we deserve. There are a whole host of movie musicals in the works which are hugely exciting. Some that I'm most looking forward to are:

In The Heights: This is my all time favourite musical and I just can't wait for the summer vibes, incredible music and general wonder of Heights to be played out on the big screen. The film was originally set for release next month but thanks to Miss Rona it's been pushed back to June 2021.

Everybody's Talking About Jamie: This brilliantly British musical is set for release in October and is sure to thrill as it tells the real-life story of Jamie New, the 17 year old drag queen who wants to go against the norm and be true to himself. We'll also get the chance to see wonderful Max Harwood take on the lead role which will be a real treat.

West Side Story: In what's sure to be another 'Star is Born' performance, Rachel Zegler will be starring as Maria in this Stephen Spielberg adaptation. The production photos that have been released so far look amazing and I cannot wait to see this sumptuous film.

The Prom: I saw this show on Broadway so it'll be wonderful and interesting to see a film version. I think this will transfer brilliantly; plus, Meryl Streep is set to star in it so it's already a win in my eyes.

Matilda: The original Matilda film is a complete classic that will always be a heartwarming treat and the musical evokes the same magical and wondrous vibes. Tim Minchin's music is so clever and will no doubt get us all tapping our feet in the cinema!

Merrily We Roll Along: Ben Platt. Beanie Feldstein. Filmed over 20 years. Okay so this isn't going to be out in the near future but I just can't wait to eventually see this movie. The whole concept sounds so exciting and the cast are absolutely stellar.

As well as these there are more live action adaptations in the works as well as a number of current Broadway musicals being transferred from stage to screen. These include Dear Evan Hansen, Tick, Tick... Boom! and Come From Away. All in all, it seems that we can expect a whole lot more musicals in the mainstream and I cannot wait! What upcoming movie musical are you excited to see?

Post by Olivia Mitchell