Sunday, September 7, 2008

ANOTHER theatre review?

One of the biggest perks of Q's job is that every year we get treated to a production at our local amphitheatre - the setting is incredible and there's a real reason it's billed as "Broadway in the Desert"!

We have always been lucky with the weather - it's never rained, but since you're not in a place with 4 walls you do get to deal with whatever comes your way.  One time we were quite chilly - but every other time we've been burning up (the whole desert thing you know).  Luckily this does not usually detract from enjoying the show.

Being a natural born theatre critic - I cannot just sit and enjoy a show, though I sincerely hope that I do not keep those around me from enjoying it!  Having seen Les Miserables once before (was that really 18 years ago!) I went into it with certain expectations, although I was prepared to give a little slack since the other production was the touring cast who had been performing for YEARS in the same roles!

I did enjoy myself - the show was good - the acting was good - the voices were good... a few were REALLY good, but not all.  Sometimes the "musicality" of the show was sacrificed to the action - and in the case of Eponine's death, that's a good thing.  I never could wrap myself around the concept of a girl bleeding to death and BELTING out a jaunty tune.  (okay, so it's not jaunty - but that word just made the sentence flow better)  In fact - 99% of the time I approved of the acting taking precedence over the singing... it isn't a musical revue after all - it's an incredible story being told with the aid of great music.  The one exception has to be Jean Val Jean's soliloquy in the beginning (after the Bishop gives him the candlesticks) where he is deciding to dedicate his life to God.  The physicality of that interfered not only with the song - it interfered with the acting...  I felt like Jean Val Jean had been fused with Dick Van Dyke with all those prat falls... or maybe with one of those male gymnasts that slam themselves into the tumbling mat and we all think "ow, doesn't that HURT?!"

As always - the Thenardier's are... well, nasty and annoying.  And just like a little kid watching Bambi I always want it to end differently... except it's opposite, because I just want someone, anyone - to off this guy!

For crying out loud... doesn't it look like his "wife" agrees with me?  

One thing - If you haven't seen the musical in as many years as I hadn't (whoa, there's some grammar trick!)  - be prepared for some changes...  The story itself is a lot clearer now (and not just because I've read and re-read the book) - the songs have been expanded/changed/added back in.  I was happy to see that Gavroche's "Little People" which is my favorite song from the London Cast Recording was back in place even though it wasn't in the production I saw in Denver back in the day...  Words to some songs were changed, and maybe most people wouldn't notice that because they didn't sing them in High School and then listen to them constantly for almost 20 years.  (okay, not constantly - I'm not WEIRD people!)  Some changes were good - some I didn't quite understand what the point was...   it seemed a lot of past tense verbs were changed to present tense - and I'm not sure if it was this production or the sheet music that removed a few of the deity references...  but not all of them?  

Oh well, suffice it to say that we enjoyed ourselves - a night away from the kids is always good - but when we can actually do something that we enjoy on that night out... and to top that enjoyment with the fact that we didn't have to shell out a dime the night was perfect.  It was actually $2 for a water bottle... but no dimes!


Megz said...

I strongly believe some musicals are best left to professionals, Les Miserables being one of them.
And surely you sneaked some candy in? 'sneaked' being one of those grammatically correct words only our family knew about until snuck finally made it into the dictionary.

T said...

I "sneaked" in some gum, does that count? The company had a picnic beforehand with enough food to feed an army - we didn't get the munchies until the drive home - which is when we finished of a bag of caramel coated popcorn type stuff...