BWW Reviews: FROM HERE TO ETERNITY: THE MUSICAL, Cinema Release, July 3 2014
It's no secret that I was a big fan of From Here To Eternity: The Musical.
More than that, perhaps, the hour I spent chatting to composer Stuart Brayson was perhaps one of the most enjoyable interviews I've ever done (although it was tough to write it up - the soundbites were many and varied, as were the hilarious not-safe-for-work bons mots).
So I was absolutely delighted when the film release was finally confirmed: it's a movie version of the stage performance, and I was so pleased that the show might finally reach a bigger audience.
I'm thrilled that the touching performances of Robert Lonsdale and Siubhan Harrison as Prewitt and Lorene will get a wider viewing; and it is still a mystery to me why neither got nominated for an Olivier Award this year. You won't find a more moving masterclass of musical theatre acting than this pair; and if you can avoid beaming while you're watching their duet 'Love Me Forever Today', then you have a harder heart than me.
The close-ups offer the viewer a greater understanding of the emotion playing out; and if that sometimes negates the ability to see some of Javier De Frutos's sweeping military choreography, then perhaps it's a trade-off worth making.
I thought the show closed much too soon, but when I wrote my reflection I noted that the changes on the final night were still noticeable to anyone who'd seen it previously during the run.
I felt that way about the film version, if I'm honest. Maybe I am too emotionally attached to the show I saw develop and progress in the theatre, but every time I saw a change or a cut, I winced; my mind was screaming things like 'I want Maggio standing on a table and singing with the four romantic leads in five-part counterpoint, dammit!' I am having to remind myself that it's being used as a showcase for an American audience rather than a carbon copy for the hardy folk who were committed fans of the West End production - and if that's the aim, it succeeds.
Those new to the show won't notice the cuts, but they might notice what was, at least in my screening, a very peculiar dip in footage quality towards the end of the second act (yes, there's an intermission, just like in the old days).
However, that doesn't detract from the movie overall. Fans will just be pleased the show lives on; newcomers get to see a musical whose stage life was cut too short; and everyone can admire what I maintain is an exceptional piece of theatrical scoring. Now, for the CD...