Review Roundup: CAROUSEL at the Barbican Theatre
Rodgers & Hammerstein's musical Carousel comes to London in August 2012, for just 35 performances, prior to appearing at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris in 2013. Voted best musical of the 20th century by Time Magazine, Carousel features breathtaking dancing, and some of the most moving music ever written for the stage, including If I Loved You, June is bustin' out all over and You'll Never Walk Alone.
Set on the New England coastline, Carousel is a story of true love, loss and feelings left unspoken. Following the ill-fated love affair between bad boy Billy Bigelow and trusting Julie Jordan, this classic musical is deeply touching and will capture your heart. Featuring a cast including Katherine Manley, Sarah Tynan and Michael Todd Simpson, Carousel is directed by Jo Davies (Ruddigore), with designs by Anthony Ward (Oliver!) and choreography by Kim Brandstrup and Kay Shepherd. James Holmes (Sweeney Todd) conducts a large orchestra.
Let's see what the critics had to say...
Michael Billington, The Guardian: Even if I craved a bit more textual clarity in the big ensemble numbers, this is easily the best Carousel since Nicholas Hytner's National Theatre revival nearly 20 years ago.
Tom Wicker, Time Out London: An imposing Michael Todd Simpson and feisty Katherine Manley make a good job of these tricky characters. The sense of a man with a poet's soul or a girl 'deeper than a well' isn't always there, but their 'If I Loved You' has you believing in love at first duet. Jo Davies's production is generally stronger at spectacle than subtlety, a haunting ballet sequence aside. It blazes into life with each well-choreographed chorus number: hearing the music sung by such talented singers and played by a full-strength orchestra is a pleasure.
Libby Purves, The Times: If there is one classic musical that deserves an opera company - strong voices, full orchestra, swarming chorus, James Holmes on the baton - it is this. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s darkest story has as much spoken dialogue as any theatre musical but is essentially made of songs fully operatic in their close, sensitive following of each character’s emotional pulse
Sarah Hemming, Finanacial Times: But this is an excellent production. The orchestra, conducted by James Holmes, delivers the score with delicacy and depth and the final ensemble rendition of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” is tremendously uplifting.
Michael Coveney, Whatsonstage: It’s very different, in fact, designed by Anthony Ward from the inside out, so that there is no brilliantly conceived or imposed vision of the New England amusement park, or the various coastal settings, or Heaven’s backyard; the settings materialise out of the darkness, with expressive lighting by Bruno Poet, and the show prospers in the resolutely human scale of the performances.
Photo Credit: Alastair Muir