BWW Reviews: PARADISE LOST - Studio Cast Recording
Sim G Records has released an array of wonderful recordings over the past couple of years, many of which I have had the pleasure of reviewing. Based and inspired by John Milton's poem, Paradise Lost is their latest studio recording release, just in time for Christmas!
The super talented Lee Ormsby is responsible for the story and music whilst Jonathan Wakeham collaborates with the book and lyrics. Featuring a cast of 28 West End performers, it is bound to be a feast for the ears. Paradise Lost is, in a nutshell, a love story set against the backdrop of war. There are a massive 24 musical numbers and, upon reading the detailed synopsis, it seems like it would be difficult to portray without it literally playing out in front of you. However, upon listening, the creative team have managed to create a tool for the listener to use their imagination and it is in fact very visual.
The recording begins with a recitation of the poem it's inspired by, against an almost science fiction feel instrumental. There are big sounds coming through from the outset which I'm glad to say continues throughout. The orchestrations are complex and packed full of detail; the musical direction is also noticeably in depth as the harmonies are impressive, particularly during 'If Only He'd Notice Me'. With a premise of Heaven and Hell/Angels and Demons, there is definitely a religious feel about it and also an undercurrent of oriental sounds, greatly recognised during 'Guardian of the Gate' and 'Here I Am'. There are many sounds that come through from the members of the orchestra and very enjoyable are the panpipes during 'Something More'. There is a lot of emotion and powerful musical numbers so the light relief provided by 'Young & In Love' if definitely needed!
Charlotte Wakefield plays Angelis, the female lead, who is torn between Michael and Satan. Her vocals are beautiful and almost magical during 'When I See His Face'. Her struggle between her two love interests comes through in her vocal performance. The only time she is vocally stretched is in 'The Letter' when she is really pushing her range. Matthew Wycliffe plays Michael and gives a proficient performance although sometimes it feels as if he could give a bit more strength. Ricardo Alonso is a strong match as Satan. Occasionally I miss the grit that I know he can deliver but this does finally come out in 'Shattered Wings'. Other notable performances come from Dominic Brewer as Moloch and Julie Atherton as Oriale.
Paradise Lost is released on 17 December 2014 and can be purchased from www.simgproductions.com.