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Craig Bierko as the Trunchbull

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NotTheComfyChair
Chorus Member
joined:3/19/13
Craig Bierko as the Trunchbull
Posted: 9/19/13 at 11:50am
Picking up from the deleted thread...
I'd love to hear people's impressions of Craig Bierko as the Trunchbull. The previous thread was interesting and troll-free and it would be good to hear more from those who've seen him.
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Johnnycantdecide
Featured Actor
joined:6/1/11
Craig Bierko as the Trunchbull
Posted: 9/19/13 at 12:49pm
Is Craig Bierko the new Kerry Butler and is now above criticism on BWW? What the hell, mods? Wizzer gave an honest review of a performance. Are we not allowed to give honest reviews of performances anymore? What utter bullsh*t
BL5965
Swing
joined:10/9/11
Craig Bierko as the Trunchbull
Posted: 9/19/13 at 12:55pm
From someone who hasn't seen the original thread, what was the general vibe?
rorschach37
Broadway Star
joined:4/3/10
Craig Bierko as the Trunchbull
Posted: 9/19/13 at 01:23pm
Does anyone have an honest review of his portrayal? I'm not asking for anyone to bash him, I just want to know if he was good or bad. I saw a comment in the other thread they had to make some temporary changes due to his injury?
Liza's Headband
Broadway Legend
joined:5/28/13
Craig Bierko as the Trunchbull
Posted: 9/19/13 at 01:31pm
Bad.
rorschach37
Broadway Star
joined:4/3/10
Craig Bierko as the Trunchbull
Posted: 9/19/13 at 01:40pm
Could you be a bit more specific?
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Someday
Stand-by
joined:4/4/06
Craig Bierko as the Trunchbull
Posted: 9/19/13 at 01:41pm
Just chiming in to echo the confusion about why the other thread was deleted. Did it violate policy somehow? It actually seemed pretty evenhanded to me.
Things I hadn't looked
At till now:
Flower in your hat.
And your smile....
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LizzieCurry
Broadway Legend
joined:3/7/05
Craig Bierko as the Trunchbull
Posted: 9/19/13 at 02:11pm
The OP erased their entire original post and then changed the subject to "DELETE." I hope they didn't get harassing PMs or something.
"Don't patronize me, alright?" - BroadwayStar4
ghostlight2
Broadway Legend
joined:12/5/04
Craig Bierko as the Trunchbull
Posted: 9/19/13 at 02:23pm
Maybe OP reconsidered, thinking the review was too harsh. Don't know, didn't see it. In any case, it was apparently the poster's choice.

Updated On: 9/19/13 at 02:23 PM
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Craig
Broadway Legend
joined:5/20/03
Craig Bierko as the Trunchbull
Posted: 9/19/13 at 02:37pm
Is Craig Bierko the new Kerry Butler and is now above criticism on BWW? What the hell, mods? Wizzer gave an honest review of a performance. Are we not allowed to give honest reviews of performances anymore? What utter bullsh*t

I see you're blaming the mods. And LizzieCurrie just wrote that the OP requested the thread be deleted. I have NO idea who the mods are these days and I doubt you'll recant your statement or apologize. Bull**** indeed.

"A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men" - Willy Wonka
Updated On: 9/19/13 at 02:37 PM
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TimmyJ51
Swing
joined:1/20/06
Craig Bierko as the Trunchbull
Posted: 9/19/13 at 02:52pm
Aw, boo. I had posted on the original thread, so I hope nothing I said was out of line (I don't think it was). I saw Bierko at the Wednesday matinee, and I have to preface anything I say with the fact that Iím generally a fan of him, and thought his casting sounded brilliant when it was announced.

My general take was that the show, the cast, and the shadow of Carvel loomed over Bierko's performance. Everything else is great shape - Jill Paice is a touching replacement, stronger than Ward, sweet as peaches and in fine voice, and forging a great connection with the Matilda who was on (Oona Laurence). The adult and youth ensemble are still spot on, the design elements as beautiful as ever (how affecting ďWhen I Grow UpĒ remains), and Ebert and Margherita are still bringing down the house. Thereís also a show curtain now.

With all that said, Bierko's performance leaves a void that affected my opinion of the show overall. I'm not sure how I would feel had I not seen Carvel, but having seen him, all the nuance and brilliance he brought to the part is magnified by how little Bierko does with it. It's not a disastrous performance, but the most damning thing I can say about it is that it's serviceable.

Itís noticeable that Bierko didnít change his voice, but itís also the lack of small touches that Carvel brought to the part Ė an occasional pause, a glare, etc. Carvel etched out a large, looming presence for Trunchbull, and it never really felt like a man playing a woman Ė and you really got the sense that Trunchbull is a sadistic sociopath. With Bierko, who lumbers across the stage, youíre always aware that itís a man playing a woman, and it feels like a gimmick Ė and the character never really feels like a viable threat, which weakens the dramatic stakes that Matilda faces. Bierko doesnít really interpret in degrees Ė itís more loud or soft, with no in between. Some of the jokes that I assumed were foolproof land with a dull thud, and Iím not sure there was a single belly laugh regarding anything the Trunchbull said or did.

**MINOR SPOILER ALERT**

Somewhat minor points that annoyed me: due to Bierkoís injury, he has two (quite obvious) body doubles in ďThe Smell of Rebellion.Ē Also, Trunchbull doesnít throw the girl with pigtails Ė I canít remember specifics, but some lines were added about some random bully coming in to throw her. Both of these only serve to weaken the physical presence of Trunchbull Ė I mean, so much is emphasized about Trunchbull being a champion hammerthrower, and then she doesnít throw the girl? Makes no sense. Also, the ribbon got wrapped around Bierko during ďThe Hammer,Ē so he finished the song by sitting down with the ribbon wrapped around him.

**END SPOILERS**

I have hopes heíll improve, but Iím not sure heís ever going to be a replacement that is in any way on par with Carvel. Bierko comes off as underrehearsed, and perhaps most obvious, miscast. Something doesnít quite gel about the performance, and itís disappointing. I'd love to hear other people's thoughts - I can't imagine I'm being too unreasonable or harsh, but perhaps I am.
broadwaymarty
Chorus Member
joined:2/6/04
Craig Bierko as the Trunchbull
Posted: 9/19/13 at 10:22pm
My opinion, for what it's worth is that Bertie was great playing it funny, Craig actually is slightly more a tuned to the book, plays it dark and scary and it makes a wonderfully dark show darker and I like that. About the voice, we're asked to believe a lot of things in MATILDA.
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disneybroadwayfan22
Broadway Legend
joined:2/10/13
Craig Bierko as the Trunchbull
Posted: 9/19/13 at 11:44pm
Wait, they removed the....

*SPOILERS*

PIGTAIL SCENE?!

*END*
Broadway Shows: Phantom of the Opera (January 2011), Mary Poppins (January 2011), Anything Goes (August 2011, W/ Sutton Foster, Joel Grey, and Laura Osnes), The Lion King (August 2011), Godspell (June 2012, W/ Corbin Bleu), Matilda the Musical (Original Broadway Cast, May 2013), Newsies (May 2013), Cinderella (W/ Carly Rae Jepsen and Fran Drescher, May 2014), and Aladdin (OBC, May 2014). Pre-Broadway: If/Then (November 2013/World Premiere, W/ Idina Menzel, LaChanze, and Anthony Rapp). National Tours: Wicked (October 2012), Beauty & the Beast (January 2013), & Jersey Boys (November 2013)

Met Idina Menzel & Sierra Boggess (November 2013)
broadwaymarty
Chorus Member
joined:2/6/04
Craig Bierko as the Trunchbull
Posted: 9/20/13 at 12:17am
No, right now, because of Bierko's injury he can't spin her around so he tells someone else to.....he says "dispose of her, which is wonderfully creepy...it really fits in with Bierko's dark interpretation.
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Scarywarhol
Broadway Legend
joined:10/1/04
Craig Bierko as the Trunchbull
Posted: 9/20/13 at 08:45am
The idea that Trunchbull herself doesn't do that is utterly absurd and completely defeats the purpose of the moment.
Owen22
Broadway Legend
joined:2/24/11
Craig Bierko as the Trunchbull
Posted: 9/20/13 at 10:17am
It goes to show you how special Carvel was in the role and so deserved the Tony over Billy Porter, who gives a wonderful performance, but is nothing so out of the ordinary that it couldn't be easily replicated.
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darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
Craig Bierko as the Trunchbull
Posted: 9/20/13 at 11:30am
On the one hand, I think Carvel definitely deserved the Tony, and I also believe Matilda to be a fantastic, well-written show. On the other hand, my structuralist/writer side also strongly believes that if a part is written so specifically around one performer's talents that it cannot be well replicated (not even improved upon, just played by anyone else), you've got a big problem. It means that not only does the production depend on that performer, but the existence of the entire SHOW does as well.

It's the reason "Little Me" exists in so many variant versions- it was written so specifically for someone who could do exactly what Sid Caesar did that the production team has to retool the show every time it was revived. And I'm almost certain Carvel is one of the only quadruple threat actor/dancer/singer/stuntmen working right now.
KathyNYC2
Broadway Legend
joined:12/2/10
Craig Bierko as the Trunchbull
Posted: 9/20/13 at 01:04pm
Yeah Carvel was special and he should have won a Tony. Too bad the Matilda people got greedy and nominated him in the wrong category.
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beagle
Stand-by
joined:7/8/09
Craig Bierko as the Trunchbull
Posted: 9/20/13 at 01:19pm
They've had good replacements in the role in London (first David Leonard and now Alex Gaumond). Maybe they're not as great as Carvel, but they have been well reviewed and the show is doing well. I saw Leonard and thought he was very good in the role.

If they've been able to find successful replacements in the London production, I don't see why they can't do so on Broadway. If Bierko is having trouble, maybe just needs some time to settle into the role.

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newintown
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/10
Craig Bierko as the Trunchbull
Posted: 9/20/13 at 02:22pm
I wouldn't say that Trunchbull was created so that only Carvel could play her; I'm sure many people would be excellent in the role; they just need the ability to be a character actor, rather than a charm/looks actor (which is how Bierko has always struck me).

Updated On: 9/20/13 at 02:22 PM
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Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
Craig Bierko as the Trunchbull
Posted: 9/20/13 at 02:39pm
"Too bad the Matilda people got greedy and nominated him in the wrong category."

You're aware that's not how it works, right?
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KirbyCat
Broadway Legend
joined:4/23/08
Craig Bierko as the Trunchbull
Posted: 9/20/13 at 02:59pm
Kad, what I think Kathy meant to say was that the producers petitioned for him be eligible for the Leading Actor category, so they could get another potential nomination with Gabe Ebert in the Featured Actor category. Greedy producers, indeed.
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The Distinctive Baritone
Broadway Legend
joined:8/28/04
Craig Bierko as the Trunchbull
Posted: 9/20/13 at 03:27pm
Carvel would have won the Featured Actor Tony for sure had been put in that category. However, since he won as Lead Actor at the Olivers in London, evidently the producers thought he should be considered Lead at the Tonys too. Oops.

Anyway, I hope Bierko isn't as bad as people are saying he is and that he settles into the role.
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goldenboy
Broadway Legend
joined:7/15/05
Craig Bierko as the Trunchbull
Posted: 9/20/13 at 03:58pm
When I saw the show in London, the understudy was on. He was terrific and received hoots, hollars, standing ovation and stole the show. Don't know who it was but he was terrific. Yes I know... I should know his name. It was the summer of 2011. Point being there are many people who can play this role.
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Lavieboheme3090
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/04
Craig Bierko as the Trunchbull
Posted: 9/20/13 at 05:33pm
I saw it for the the first time this week and I thought Bierko was fine. I have nothing to compare him to thought. I was absolutely blown away by Jill Pace she was just wonderful.
homeimp
Leading Actor
joined:10/2/08
Craig Bierko as the Trunchbull
Posted: 9/21/13 at 12:21am
I'm still not clear why Trenchbull has to be played by a man. What is gained? It seems to me it just reflects the curious British love for the pantomime tradition, which I had never understood. I live in Canada. Last season one of Canada's finest actresses played Richard III at the Stratford Festival. She did her best, had some good moments, but when it came right down to it, what was the point? There were quite a few male actors at the Festival who could have played the role better and deserved the chance.

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