Ruthiefan_felix's London reviews (LONG!)

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ruthiefan_felix
Broadway Legend
joined:10/6/03
Broadway Legend
joined:
10/6/03
Ruthiefan_felix's London reviews (LONG!)#1
Posted: 6/3/07 at 12:44am
It's 1/2 term so Im down in London as usual watching shows and all, so here it is... it's only my personal opinions so I hope I don't offend anyone and sorry if people don't agree. Ok here it is:

[u]30th May Wednesday
Evening: [b]LORD OF THE RINGS[/b][/u]

First... I sat 2nd row of Balcony which costed me 5pounds each (EXTREMELY good deal!). Before I went in, I really needed the loo, so I ran in but when I reached the auditorium and saw the set, I was SO amazed I stopped there and gazed with amazement.. it's like I was in an actual woods!!!!
Anyway, great seats. The opening number was good and Bilbo's disappearance was amazing. I can't help but find the pace of the story too quick though understandable. The set and lightings are amazing. During the scene where Aargon brings Frodo to the river, there was a sudden scream... everyone first thought it was part of the show. But within a sec, all actors offstage, crew members on and all you can hear is a 'ranger' shouting: 'Arrrr!!! My leg my leg!! Stopp!!' Aaragon had to stop the conductor. Curtains came down and we are told of a technical problem. Then after 10 mins, we were told to have a 10 interval. Then after another 5 mins, producer Kevin Wallace came onstage to inform us that for the benefits of the actors, he had to end the show. Sad but lucky I changed my tickets 2 the Saturday matinee cuz all the London papers were reporting the story the next day!
Anyway... saw Caroline O'Connor at the lobby!
[u]
31st May Thursday
Evening: [b]THE DROWSY CHAPERONE[/b][/u]

Before I went in, I was really excited as I have seen/heard so much about the show... I knew nearly every gag in it.
I personally find the London production to some extend missing some kind of spark. It might be the APPALLING sound system which made me struggle to listen to the performers' voices! The show is marvellous, very clever and amazing to see live!

Elaine Paige (Chaperone): Most people went to the show to see her. I have to say her first entrance was disappointing... she was just... Elaine Paige. But she very soon improves during the first closet scene and proves to be excellent. The descriptions of the character was perfectly designed and fitted for her. Yes, I have to admit, her singing and acting is no Beth Leavel, but she has SO much star-power and charisma and like the actual character Beatrice Stockwell, she demands for the stage!!!

Summer Strallen (Janet): One of the main reasons I went to see the show. Did not at all disappoint. Proves herself to be more than a triple threat! She can act, sing and CERTAINLY dance (OMG those LEGS!) and my god is she BEAUTIFUL!!! I cannot hear her at times but I blame the sound system! She is worth the ticket price alone! Her performance completely kicked Sutton out of my head!

Bob Martin (Man In Chair): Another main reason I went to see the show. He is just brilliant - AMAZING! Completely stole the show. He worked very hard to make the normally relatively quiet British audiences to laugh and succeeded. He was hilarious and at the end broke my heart when he was flying... it was a touching moment!

Anne Rogers (Mrs. T): Great but nothing special since her role's pretty small but she impressed me with her kicks!

John Patridge (Robert): Everyone on the boards thought he was bad but I thought the opposite. He is more than sufficient. He can dance, sing and act... ok his acting felt abit uncomfortable (maybe its his role) BUT he DEFINITELY had the looks for the role - just super charming and in the end that's all that REALLY matters! lol

Others: There is not much to say cuz its a short show and there is not much for each character. I do find Selina Chilton's Kitty not very convincing but others are great, esp Sean Kingsley's George! Joseph Alessi's Adolpho is different to his Broadway counterpart but equally funny!

The sets are great and costumes are AMAZING!... can't take my eyes off'em! The MAIN MAIN problem was the sound system in the theatre! A lot of lyrics and dialects and jokes were lost because of the poor sound surroundings... sound REALLY do something about it!

I got autographs & pictures from mostly everyone at the stagedoor. Anne and Summer are especially friendly (can I also say Summer's bf is VERY hot but that is OFF-topic lol) Elaine is very nice as well (not at all the diva I thought she would be!) and Bob loved the cariacature I drew him. Ohoh... and I saw Jenna Russell at the stagedoor!

[u]1st June Friday
Matinee: [b]CHICAGO[/b][/u]

The main reason I went to see the show was because of Josefina Gabrielle... her 7th time returning but I have ALWAYS missed her dates! we had good seats, D1 stalls, some restricted view but VERY close up! Anyway... Maxwell Caulfield as Billy was a plus... didn't know who he was/is... don't really care!

Josefina Gabrielle (Roxie): AMAZING as Roxie! I thought her performance before Cell Block Tango was abit so-so (though her Funny Honey was good) but from the scene where Roxie & Velma argues... she could not have gone any better! Yes... Linzi will ALWAYS be my fav. Roxie but Josefina just brought so much of her own style to the role. Some small gestures, moves that makes the character her own and SO much more interesting. She is definitely the prettiest Roxie I've ever seen. Alot of times she reminds me of Ruthie. AMAZING... catch her if you can!

Amra-Faye Wright (Velma): She was well... OK. It would be harsh to say she's bland but she does look kinda tired in the role. She is different everytime I sse her, but she looks like its her daily routine... I think she would improve if she has a big break from the show!

Maxwell Caufield (Billy): In Act 1, I thought he was superb. His acting was perfect for the role... never have I seen a more sleezy mick lawyer Billy in London. Though acting was great, he lost everything when he comes to singing. He has a good deep rich voice but it does not sustain... it was especially disappointing when he hits the last notes merely and holds it for less than 2 secs. But all that's fine... I am used to stunt casting and I did expect him to be an average singer. But what REALLY bugged me was him missing his entrance for 'I Know A Girl' in Act 2... he wasn't there for his line, so the doctor zipping his fly and Roxie standing there with reporters surrounding looked extremely ridiculous! Amra gave an 'ouch' face when she realised he wasn't there. When he came out for his curtain call, he made the 'Oh c'mon gimme more applause' gester. Overall, excluding his missed entrance, he was fine... would've preferred to see his understudy Mike Denman instead!

Matthew Lloyd Davies (Amos): I'm sure he's a nice guy and all... but his Amos was HORRIBLE! I just don't get what he wanted his Amos to be... timid, shy, angry or what??? Sorry to say, but apart from the doggy routine he does with Josefina... I find him the worst Amos I have seen.

Susie McKenna (Mama): Great voice, good acting

T Soloman (Mary): The manliest 'after' I have seen which is great! Great voice... though I realised sitting so close that you can see his Adam's apple which confused alot of people arround me.

Ensemble: Some new faces, alot of old faces. The ensemble is in good shape. I still hate the fact that Rachel Pressland as ensemble! She should be promoted as full-time Mama cuz she's awesome in the role! Adelle Young is O-M-G petite but SEXY and so are all the others girls who are SO leggy! As for the boys, they're in good shape but I have to mention Simeon Weedall as Fred Casely. He's SO young... but it worked quite well... never thought that Fred could be a young-er or teenager fooling around the corner.... it worked really well!... not to mention he's VERY good-looking which always helps! The whole ensemble looks amazing: HOT, YOUNG & SEXY and I love it! Would definitely love to catch some of them as the leads!

At the stagedoor, I waited for Josefina... Stagedoor manager told me there's a quite high possibility she won't come out for setting her hair. Then her hair-manager brought my programme up to sign. Abit disappointed that I could not meet her in person and tell her how great she was after tryin to see her in the past 4 years... nonetheless, COMPLETELY understandable and her performance was well worth it!
[u]
2nd June Saturday
Matinee: [b]LORD OF THE RINGS[/b][/u]

Watching the show the 2nd time makes me really nervous, especially witnessing the accident the 1st time. We got the same row but on the far left. Is it just me, but don't you HATE when not one, but FOUR kids are in front of you with another THREE behind you??? They are MOST irritating!... moving around, talking, eating sweets (chewing them loudly) I had to tell them to sit down 3 times! (They just don't learn!)
Back to the show. I love the music... it's epic, it suits the show really well... not really bothered with not too many full songs... what I am annoyed is that they don't have the names/titles of those songs in the programme! I thought those songs wer beautiful, esp the 1st song 'The Road Goes On' (I just made up those names), the song in the pub, Galadriel's song and also Sam & Frodo's 'Now & For Always'. But I did find the song sung by Gimlli in the Dwarf's Mines very unnessa and boring. If anything should be cut, that should be it!!!
Only having seen the first 2 movies (hated both so did not even bother with the 3rd)... I feel the story was very rushed. I know there has been plenty of cuts of plot and character but I do wish more could be cut and some in more details. After reading an interview with director on WOS magazine, he said the book now focused more on the romantic love between Arwen and Aaragon... I can't say I agree! I actually felt more for Rosie and Sam! If you have not seen any of the films (which my friend didn't), it could be REALLY confusing what is happening onstage! The director said he did not want to over-simplify Tolkein's classic but I think they're still tryin to put too much in a show. 60 - 70% of the time, it's just really confusing. I know it's really hard to adapt so I would just wish them the best of luck to trim/cut to its best for opening night!
Special effects... did not disappoint! I did find the dancing Orcs abit ridiculous... but hey! it's a musical lol! I find the ending but of the 1st Battle abit... dull... just 5 guys shaking flags! The final battle scene was cleverly staged done though and wonderful to watch! An even though without the monster, final of Act 1 was PHENOMENAL to watch ... though to be honest, I was simply glad to hav some cold air blowing as I was sweating like a dog! After witnessing the accident on Wednesday, I was extremely nervous FOR the actors during the scene leading to the river. Lighting extremely dim, alot of elevating flats and alot of people at once could be a serious health and safety hazard! But once the scene is done, we were really reliefed. Maybe I have read too much about the spider on others' review and had high hopes... it was just OK for me.

James Loye (Frodo): He was great as Frodo. Great acting.

Malcolm Storry (Gandalf): Having seen him as Bottom in the recent RSC Midsummer's Night Dream, I expected more from him. Great actor but did not have the authority I thought the character should have... but then again we were all spoilt with having Sir Ian McKellen! Hope he improves.

Laura Michelle Kelly (Galadriel): Stole the show with her entrance and the scenes she's in. Has strong presence and delivered her songs wonderfully. She looked like a living Goddess onstage!

Michael Therriault (Gollum): Great.

Others are great as well but nothing much could be said. I wished they could make Arwen look more innocent... I find her appearance very evil, esp compared to Laura and Liv Tyler in the film.
As I said, it's a great show and with the right amount of rewrite on the book, it would be a great hit! To me, LOTR is the new Phantom (tho 100x better)... selling point are the special effects. I wish there could be more heart in the plot. And I hope it could be a great hit as it is a great theatrical experience.

BEST of luck with the creatives and ADAM SALTER!!!!

[u]Evening: [b]AVENUE Q[/b][/u]

I'm watching the show again because it's Clare Foster/Gabriel Vick/Luke Evans/Gloria Onitiri's last night (if not I would have checked out Side By Side By Sondheim instead).
Watching the show again (from 2nd row stalls) reminds me why I LOVE this show and this almost 100% original cast. Surrounding me are also a bunch of Avenue Q/Clare Foster fans. And I was prepared for a fun/emotional evening. All round, everyone was excellent. Jennifer's X'Mas Eve was good, different from Yanle's but I like it. Alas I saw Giles as Gary who was excellent!
From the first number, you can see both Julia and Clare have tears in their eyes and throughout the show... both seemed to be trying to hold on to their emotions. TONS of tears in the end, with comforting looks and supportive hugs and cheers at the end from the whole cast. BUT that did not aboid/prevent them from giving yet another excellent performance! The cast as usual was phenomenal! Can I praise them more??? No words can describe how great they were!

[b]I RUV THEM ARLL!!![/b]

At the stage door, tons of fans waiting, all very pleasant (apart from those rude drunken French tourists!). Jon & Simon are both VERY sweet. Fans crowded the Leavers with flowers, gifts, memory albums ... and puppets! It was very emotional and sad to see them leave. But let's look on the bright side, let's wish them a good future and a good luck (can we really say 'break a leg' after the LOTR incident?) to those newcomers!!!!
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