Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Louis Maskell. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Louis Maskell. Sort by date Show all posts

Wednesday 2 August 2017

Fiddler on the Roof, Chichester Festival Theatre | Review

Fiddler on the Roof
Chichester Festival Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday August 1st 2017 by Olivia Mitchell

It's not often that I venture out of London for theatre but when I do it's usually to Chichester and so far I've never been disappointed with a production. Of the various shows I've seen there, Fiddler on the Roof is by far the best and I am completely in awe of its brilliance. If I Were A Rich Man, I would fund this productions transfer to the West End right this minute, but as I'm not I will have to settle with the fact that the show, directed by Daniel Evans is absolutely fantastic so is more than likely to make the move without me... I'll just have to wait a little while.

Set in rural Tsarist Russia in 1905 when the first hints of revolution are revealing themselves, we follow Tevye who is trying to preserve tradition in the face of a changing world by marrying off his daughters. They, however, want to marry not for money but for love. In a time when Russia's Jews are facing incredible hardships where tradition is one of the few things keeping them together, Tevye has to decide whether his daughters' happiness is more important than his adored traditions. 

Omid Djalili was born to play the poor dairyman, Tevye. His masterful comedic timing is pure excellence but he also manages to capture his internal torment and external hardships perfectly. Djalili is able to involve the audience with every thought that goes through his head and makes sure that every side of the Festival Theatre gets to feel and see the emotion. Tracy-Ann Oberman is great as his wife, Golde, with her caustic personality the ideal contrast to the bright, humorous Tevye. 

Emma Kingston (Hodel) and Louis Maskell (Perchik)

The rest of the family are equally strong with the daughters each having clear personalities and being performed to the fullest. Simbi Akande as Tzeitel is sweet but strong, begging her father to allow her to marry the impoverished tailor, Motel (Jos Slovic). The pair work wonderfully together. Emma Kingston shows off her stunning voice as Hodel who falls in love with the forward thinking, Perchik played by Louis Maskell who has an equally beautiful voice which soared over every note perfectly in 'Now I Have Everything'. Particularly touching with the two was during the first Sabbath dinner when they kept subtly making eye contact with one another and we could see the first inklings of their romance. Rose Shalloo as Chava and Luke Fetherston as Fyedka have fantastic chemistry, showing their struggles with honesty and strength.

Lez Brotherston's design is bare and simplistic as it should be but transitions and evolves wonderfully to create the various settings and is able to establish feelings of both warmth and stark cold at various times. Alistair David's choreography is spectacular, lively and powerful. It unapologetically shows off Jewish tradition and does so in a extremely striking way; popping and dazzling from start to end. 

The entire cast are incredibly strong and this is as much an ensemble piece as it is a lead-led piece. Each moment when the cast come together- either in choreography or in close a cappella harmony- is magical.

I'm truly wowed by this production. My only little niggle is the accents at times, with some attempting and falling somewhat short but this is my only fault in an overall impeccable production. May it transfer and run for a very long time!

Fiddler on the Roof runs at the Chichester Festival Theatre until September 2nd 2017

photo credit: Johan Persson

Wednesday 20 December 2017

The Grinning Man, Trafalgar Studios | Review

The Grinning Man
Trafalgar Studios
Reviewed on Tuesday 19th December 2017 by Shaun Dicks

Trafalgar Studios, in the heart of the West End. We find ourselves in Studio 1, welcomed by a carnival aesthetic. The stage is set like the title, grinning. From corner to corner a grim, dark eternal smile. As we take our seats, there is a feeling of eeriness and darkness, setting the tone for the rest of the show. A demonic gong sounds, and the show begins. 

The Grinning Man - originally written by Victor Hugo - and adapted into a movie but now a musical, is a story of a young man who as a boy was given a permanent smile by metal. The story follows him as he becomes an orphan, and a series of events leads us through his childhood. His aim to find the people who gave him a permanent smile. 

Like Hugo’s other West End adaptation this show is a success; it is tight, slick and seamless. The show is littered with dark humour throughout but is also hauntingly uplifting and optimistic in places. The use of puppetry was absolutely magical throughout, the skill of the puppeteers plain to see for all. The narrative of the show is a strong one, backed up with beautiful music, sadly the book and lyrics seemed a little basic. Within the show you can spot the many Musical Theatre influences that influenced the writers. 

The cast of the show was a strong one, there wasn’t a weak link within the bunch. The harmonies, puppetry and movement was tight, obviously well-rehearsed. The characterisation was spot on with everyone as they all smashed down the fourth wall of the stage. A particular highlight was Julie Atherton as Queen Angelica, whose comedic timing was on point as always. Julian Bleach as Barkilphedro really drove home the element of dark comedy but also presented a well-rounded and multi-dimensional character that really thrilled until the very last second. Amanda Wilkin as Josiana was also a highlight. The standout however was Louis Maskell as Grinpayne, his skill set fully on display in this show, his versatility within the show shone as his voice soared. 

If you’re looking for a glamorous West End show this isn’t for you. The Grinning Man is a dark and alternative show. It’s different. Its differences are what makes this show so great. This show is something fresh and new in a world full of revivals. The show is  a must see. You’ll be gutted if you miss it. 

The Grinning Man runs at the Trafalgar Studios until February 17th 2018.

photo credit: Helen Maybank