Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Robert Tripolino. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Robert Tripolino. Sort by date Show all posts

Saturday, 2 November 2019

High Fidelity, Turbine Theatre | Review

High Fidelity
Turbine Theatre
Reviewed on Thursday 31st October 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 

Nick Hornby's High Fidelity, a book about love and music set in a run-down North London record shop has crossed mediums being made into both a film and a musical, with a TV series on the way in 2020. The location for the film and the shows opening on Broadway was America but in this UK premiere, it's been transported back to its roots and is firmly rooted in London. As the Turbine Theatre's second production, its wonderful to see a musical which brings to life some of the excellence of this city.

High Fidelity tells the story of Rob who owns a record shop which is barely surviving, and his on-again, off-again relationship with Laura, a lawyer who he loves but struggles to maintain a mature, long lasting relationship with. In the shop are also Barry and Dick, two misfits who started as part-timers and ended up sticking around and creating lives amongst the records. The lonely characters are portrayed wonderfully and despite being somewhat heartbreaking to watch, it's lovely to be reminded that there's a place for everyone.

The whole story is told from Rob's perspective as he addresses the audience and tells them what's going on both in his physical world and in his head. Rob chronicles many of his life's moments into 'Top Five' lists which are not only entertaining but an insight into how his brain works. On stage for pretty much the entirety of the show, Oliver Ormson is charming as Rob. Despite playing a character who it's often hard to empathise with, Ormson brings a warmth and sincerity which makes the audience side with him even when his decisions are rash or morally dubious. Ormson's voice is strong and he maintains an energy which fizzles throughout and really powers the show. Opposite him, Shanay Holmes is exquisite as Laura who is continually conflicted by her feelings for Rob. Holmes' voice is absolutely exceptional and she manages to shine in both the bold, booming moments and the simple, toned down times.

The entirety of the cast give excellent performances. Joshua Dever is vocally excellent and earnest until the very end; Eleanor Kane is outstanding as Marie. Her voice fills the Turbine Theatre as she envelops the audience with her delightful Brandi Carlile-esque tones and gives a performance to remember. Robert Tripolino gives a show stealing performance as the wacky Ian, a spiritualist who is all about the good vibes and natural healing. Tripolino is hilarious in pretty much every moment of his stage time and a real stand out. Mention must go to Rosie Fletcher who shines out from start to finish and gives vocals for not just days, but months.

Tom Jackson Greaves directs with a brilliant ease and fluency so the entire production feels relatable. Perhaps not in terms of the story itself but through the truthful self-reflection and humour of it all. Whilst there's not an overwhelming amount of choreography, what's there is phenomenal. The small stage is used to it's full capabilities as the cast often move around as if inside Rob's brain. Particularly wonderful is the balloon choreography which is ingenious and incredibly sleek. David Shields' set is simplistic and effective. Record sleeves scatter the theatre and the stage is transformed by small changes which work perfectly to signal the varying locations. 

The plot is by no means the best thing in the world and some of the songs feel too much like fillers but the performances and the Great British Bake Off meets Bat Out of Hell vibes of the whole thing make High Fidelity a throughly enjoyable night out. The Turbine Theatre team are showing us bit by bit what they're made of and we can only wait to see what will come next in this new London hub.

High Fidelity runs at the Turbine Theatre until 7th December 2019

photo credit: Mark Senior

Monday, 24 February 2020

Zorro, Cadogan Hall | Review

Cadogan Hall
Reviewed on Sunday 23rd February 2020 by Olivia Mitchell

Fiery, Latin, wacky, soulful and brilliant, Zorro made a triumphant return to London last night, 12 years after its West End premiere. The story of Diego De La Vega who becomes the illusive Fox aka Zorro, to save his town from the tyrannical reign of his childhood friend Ramon, is the classic good vs evil that can't help but invest you with its sincerity and heart of gold. Add to this a score by the Gipsy Kings and a fantastic cast and you've got a great night on your hands.

The plot is wafer thin but in this concert setting, we really had the chance to go beyond that to focus on the fantastic Spanish music and the wonderful characterisation from the whole cast. Even in a full setting, I would imagine that the self-awareness of this show, means you can pretty much overlook the plot faults and just enjoy it for what it is- a heap of fun! There are many 'deep' moments peppered throughout the production, but they're equally balanced with camp humour and wit which lighten the tone and allow us to go on a pretty much carefree journey.

Ricardo Afonso was incredibly convincing and powerful as Zorro/Diego, giving a completely marvellous vocal performance and enrapturing the audience of Cadogan Hall. Delightfully tongue in cheek, with a great balance of sincerity, swagger and playfulness, there's not much more you could ask for from the debonair hero. In great contrast, Robert Tripolino was truly evil as the rapacious ruler Ramon and completely commanded the stage in every moment. Zubin Varla and Jo Parsons, gave solid performances and it's just a shame we didn't get the chance to see and hear more from them.

The love interest Luisa was performed with tenderness by Emma Williams, who revived her West End role and showcased her vocal dexterity, namely in her touching rendition of The Man Behind the Mask.

Also reviving her (Olivier Award Winning) role, was Lesli Margherita who deservedly garnered much applause as the vivacious, smouldering gypsy Inez. Lesli's rendition of Bamboleo will be a memorable moment for everyone at Cadogan Hall and we can only hope she'll be back on London soil soon!

Under the baton of Freddie Tapner, the LMTO orchestra brought vibrant energy to the Hall, with exceptional guitar and percussion woven throughout the entire score. The foot stomping music was fully realised thanks to Paul Smith's sound design which was wonderfully balanced and showcased every single performer and musician brilliantly.

Entertaining and enthusiastic, Zorro was a perfect way to spend a Sunday. Hopefully the rapturous reception is enough to bring this musical back to London very soon. Viva el Zorro!

photo credit: Darren Bell

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Jesus Christ Superstar, Barbican Theatre | Review

Jesus Christ Superstar
Barbican Theatre
Reviewed on Thursday 4th July 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 

Back for its third triumphant year, the Regent's Park Open Air production of Jesus Christ Superstar is exciting, vibrant fresh and thrilling. Originally released as a concept album, Timothy Sheader's production strips Superstar back and puts on a glittering and compelling performance which lets every aspect of the show shine. 

Of course Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's rock score is the heart of this production, with huge belters from the two Js: Jesus and Judas, and more soothing, lighter numbers from Mary Magdalene. However, it's Drew McOnie's choreography that really elevates everything about this version of Superstar. Each riveting moment is sharp but free and grungy at once. The frenetic energy flits between excitement, fury, trance and sadness and creates a pulse which sizzles and entertains throughout. 

What's particularly striking about this show is the mob mentality of the followers and apostles of Jesus. Turning on a dime to support and then attack Jesus, there are very few loyalties when peer pressure gets overwhelming. Emphasised even further through Lee Curran's lighting, it's equal measures devastating and thrilling. 

Robert Tripolino's Jesus is charismatic and obviously troubled as he pours everything he has into his preaching, but is exhausted and alone as he privately questions his destiny on earth. His storming vocals are the perfect balance of sincere and shocking and his hugely dramatic death, manages, in a strange way, to resonate; and his heartbreakingly truthful performance of Gethsemane in act two enthrals the audience. Ricardo Afonso is a complete superstar as Judas, played with a ferocity which is electrifying. Again he shows off the versatility of his voice but is most vibrant in his bold, angry moments. A real masterclass performance. 

Matt Cardle comes to life in act two whilst Nathan Amzi and Cavin Cornwall provide entertaining vocals throughout. Samuel Buttery brings a comic relief which suddenly turns brutish in his excellent portrayal of King Herod. The ensemble are a body of their own as they pulse across the stage with an energy and intensity that jumps off the stage. Without a weak link, the performances are consistently full-out and electrifying. This team work as one throughout and give a continually flowing show.

This is a thrillingly furious, highly millennial production, in which miraculous performances are given and striking images resonate long after the curtain falls. 

photo credit: Johan Persson