Review Roundup: THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTREDAME at Great Lakes Theatre
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME plays at Great Lakes Theatre through November 4. As the bells of Notre Dame's cathedral sound in fifteenth-century Paris, Quasimodo - a deformed, captive bell-ringer - observes the city's Feast of Fools from afar. Escaping his captor Frollo to join the festivities, Quasimodo is rejected by every reveler except the beautiful Gypsy, Esmeralda - with whom he is immediately smitten. However, a handsome Captain and Frollo are equally enthralled by her. As they vie for her attention, Frollo embarks on a malevolent mission to destroy the Gypsies and steal her love. It's up to an unlikely hero to ring true and save the day in this transformative musical celebration of love and acceptance.
The cast stars Corey Mach as Quasimodo, Keri Rene Fuller as Esmerelda, Tom Ford as Dom Claude Frollo, Alex Syiek as Clopin Trouillefou,Jon Loya as Phoebus De Martin, Dan Hoy as Jean Frollo, Olivia Kaufman as Florika, Aled Davies as Father Dupin, Mack Shirilla as Frederic charlus, M.A. Taylor as King Louis the XI, Derrick Cobey as Official, and Jillian Kates as Madame.
The show is directed by Victoria Bussert, with choreography by Jaclyn Miller, music direction by Joel Mercier, scenic design by Jeff Herrmann, costume design by Martha Bromelmeier, lighting design by Mary Jo Dondlinger, and sound design by David Gotwald.
Let's see what the critics had to say!
Kerry Clawson, Akron Beacon Journal: The cast's size feels much bigger than 19 due to the creative versatility of the ensemble in this highly dramatic tale. A volunteer onstage choir from the Baldwin Wallace choral studies program also adds thrilling layers of cathedral vocals to this show's massive sound... The production is dominated by the marvelous physicality in Mach's characterization. This actor manages to make Quasimodo's deformity and downtrodden life feel real, while portraying this famous character as a young man with a beautiful heart and fierce desire to truly live.
Bob Abelman, The News-Herald: She [Bussert] has cast the astonishingly giftEd Fuller, Mach, Ford and Loya in the featured roles, and they find the deep meaning that resides in every lyric and sing every note in their signature songs, "God Help the Outcasts," "Out There," "Hellfire" and "Someday," respectively, as if it was their last on earth... These performers are surrounded with an equally remarkable ensemble. Chief among them is Alex Syiek as Clopin Trouillefou, the head gypsy who is tasked with delivering the play's excessive, energy-sapping narration but is so interesting while doing so that he nearly steals the show
Laura Kennelly, Cool Cleveland: The versatile Corey Mach as Quasimodo creates a believable outcast (and has the best song in the show, "Out There"). Keri René Fuller conveys the beauty and grace of Esmeralda, the gypsy girl who befriends the lonely Quasimodo. Tom Ford offers a nuanced view of the conflicted Dom Claude Frollo, the Archdeacon of Notre Dame Cathedral. It is, however, a charismatic Alex Syiek, as the King of the Gypsies, who seems to own the story and capture attention, adding both a combination of romance and menace.
Christine Howey, CleveScene: Mach is more than matched in vocal chops by Keri Rene Fuller as Esmeralda, who almost stops the show with her beautiful rendition of "God Help the Outcasts." As Dom Claude Frollo, Tom Ford channels some of the bile he dredged up from playing the demon barber Sweeney Todd a couple years ago, and he lands the bass notes of his songs with the thump of authority. Also turning in solid performances are Jon Loya as Phoebus, Alex Syiek as the ever-informative King of the Gypsies and, in a neat trick of stage illusion, Dan Hoy as a decapitated Saint Aphrodisius.
Photo: Roger Mastroianni