Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Rory Beaton. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Rory Beaton. Sort by date Show all posts

Friday 3 November 2023

The Time Traveller's Wife at the Apollo Theatre Review: Time-Bending Spectacle with a Few Melodic Sparks

The Time Traveller's Wife
Apollo Theatre 

Step into the Time Warp with The Time Traveller's Wife, a production that brings Audrey Niffenegger's cherished novel to life on stage. The story revolves around the unconventional love story of Clare and Henry, complicated by his uncontrollable time-traveling abilities. While the show boasts remarkable technical feats, it occasionally stumbles when it comes to character development and narrative cohesion.

One of the standout features of the show is the exceptional use of projections and special effects to depict Henry's time-traveling journeys. The combination of Chris Fisher's illusions and Andrzej Goulding's video design and animation, along with Richard Brooker's sound design, creates a mesmerising experience that truly captures the essence of the novel. Lucy Carter and Rory Beaton's lighting design further enhances the visual impact, making the time-travel sequences truly outstanding.

Anna Fleischle's stage design, characterised by large partitions, may be relatively simplistic, but it proves effective in transforming the stage to the various places and time periods covered in the story. The quick transitions between different settings are seamless and help maintain the audience's engagement.

However, the primary drawback of the musical lies in its plot. The inherent nature of sudden time travel results in a narrative that often feels clunky and choppy, making it challenging to develop a strong connection with the characters. The central relationship between Henry and Clare, which should be the emotional core of the story, lacks depth due to their limited time together as a couple. Instead, most of their interactions consist of Henry visiting Clare throughout her childhood, which raises complex questions, and their adult lives seem marked by unhappiness. This lack of a strong emotional connection between the leads diminishes the impact of their quest to have their love transcend time.

On the flip side, Charisse and Gomez, portrayed by Tim Mahendran and Hiba Elchikhe, serve as the comic relief characters and offer a more compelling relationship with a clearer backstory. Their presence is easier to root for, and the chemistry between Mahendran and Elchikhe is a highlight of the show. The dinner party scene, in particular, stands out as one of the most enjoyable and energetic moments, filled with humour and lively performances.

Individually, the cast members deserve praise. David Hunter, who plays Henry, delivers a convincing portrayal of a man grappling with his unique abilities and provides killer vocals to go with it. Joanna Woodward's Clare exudes warmth and vulnerability, making her character endearing. Tim Mahendran and Hiba Elchikhe, as Charisse and Gomez, steal the show with their fun and charismatic on-stage presence, and their strong vocal performances only add to their appeal.

The costumes by Illona Karas and wigs by Susanna Peretz are a visual delight, successfully covering various time periods with outlandish and wonderful designs. The backstage dressers deserve applause for their efficient execution of numerous quick changes, which contribute to the show's smooth flow.

Joss Stone and Dave Stewart's music adds a unique dimension to the production, featuring a diverse mix of musical styles that range from country-inspired tunes to more conventional pop songs. The entire cast delivers these songs with outstanding performances, showcasing their musical talents. However, the musical score, while competently composed and executed, lacks truly memorable tunes. Most of the songs are lyrically predictable, serving the primary purpose of advancing the storyline. That said, there are moments in the second act that shine, such as "Journeyman," performed by Henry, and "A Woman's Intuition," a trio featuring Henry, Charisse, and Gomez. These standout moments provide a fresh and memorable musical experience within the production and leave a lasting impression. While the music may not be the show's strongest suit, it still contributes to the overall atmosphere and storytelling.

In spite of its narrative challenges and somewhat forgettable music, The Time Traveller's Wife succeeds in creating an engaging theatrical experience, thanks to its outstanding technical aspects, charismatic performances, and a handful of standout musical moments, making it a worthwhile and visually stunning night out at the theatre.

Reviewed on Thursday 3rd November 2023 by Olivia
Photo Credit: Johann Persson
{AD PR Invite- tickets gifted in exchange for honest review}

Sunday 2 April 2023

For Black Boys..., Apollo Theatre | Review

For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Hue Gets Too Heavy
Apollo Theatre

For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Hue Gets Too Heavy is powerful and thought-provoking production which offers a unique perspective on the challenges faced by young black men in today's society. The exceptionally strong play tackles heavy topics such as mental health, racism, and police profiling, all with a skilful blend of humour and heart that keeps the audience engaged from start to finish. For Black Boys... is a must see in its limited run.

The performances from the cast, made up of Mark Akintimehin, Emmanuel Akwafo, Nnabiko Ejimofor, Darragh Hand Aruna Jalloh and Kaine Lawrence are universally strong, with each actor bringing a unique and enticing angle to their role. Ryan Calais Cameron's writing is equally impressive, with sharp dialogue and powerful monologues that strike you whilst watching and also stay with you long after the play has ended. What's so effective is how the show flawlessly integrates spoken word, music, and dance to create an immersive and multifaceted experience. The whole thing is utterly seamless and flows with such a strong balance of urgency and intimacy.

The set design (Anna Reid) and lighting (Rory Beaton) add to the immersive experience, transporting the audience to the therapy room, without feeling basic; and the use of multimedia elements and striking choreography (Theophilus O. Bailey) add extra layers of depth to the production. As a whole it feels incredibly modern, relevant and powerful; a stunning representation of why new British Theatre is so necessary.

The show tackles important and sometimes taboo topics surrounding mental health, masculinity, and the experiences of young Black men and it's often incredibly moving; but what works so well is how these important social issues are balanced with humour and light. The authenticity which runs through the piece makes it feel so personal, and the audience really go through the journey with the performers.

For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Hue Gets Too Heavy is a deeply moving and important work of art that, is a must-see for those interested in social justice, mental health, and ultimately, the power of storytelling. When the ensemble come together, they create some of the most powerful theatre seen in the West End in a long time.

Reviewed on Saturday 1st April 2023 by Olivia Mitchell
photo credit: Ali Wright

{AD PR Invite- tickets gifted in exchange for honest review}