LONDON: David Shannon, Gina Beck & Simon Bailey

View previous topic View next topic Go down

LONDON: David Shannon, Gina Beck & Simon Bailey

Post  MlleMusique on Mon Jul 19, 2010 1:14 am

WOOHOO! So, I've just got back from a month-long trip around Britain, and of course when I landed in London after 29hrs travel, what was the first thing I did? Went to Piccadilly Circus to buy Phantom tickets, of course! God Bless TKTS, who got me seat D15 for 45 pounds, and I managed to see the principal cast, even though it was a matinee!

Three Things You Should Know About This Review:
1. I was hesitant to post it, but am doing so because there are no other reviews of this cast up.
2. It is quite fragmented and choppy. I took my notes during the show, and because this was my 7th time seeing it, I only made highlights, so apologies for that.
3. I will probably come across as very judgmental here about certain cast members. I don't hate anyone and I felt very fortunate to see this performance at all, but I am honest about things I do and don't like, so as long as you're aware of that....

Okay, onto the review!

Phantom: David Shannon
Christine: Gina Beck
Raoul: Simon Bailey
Carlotta: Rebecca Lock
Mme Giry: Nicky Adams
Meg: Emma Harris
Firmin: Barry James

Before the Show
I’m not sure I’ve ever noticed how gorgeous the auditorium of Her Majesty’s actually is. The décor is cream and mint green, with gold ‘lanternabras’ (candelabras with miniature lamp shades). I remain convinced that having gotten seat D15 for 45 pounds, I was the happiest girl in the world for those few hours. Whether it was a few extra months in the role on Gina’s part or the beauty of a live seat three rows from the front on mine, I thoroughly enjoyed this performance, and in the female character side of things, I have some new favourites in some respective roles!
Sitting so close to the stage, and with my glasses (the clarity, oh joy!) I was able to clearly read the dust covers over the various Auction prop pieces: ‘chandelier’ for the chandelier, obviously, ‘boite a musique’ and ‘le cygne’ (which I translated to mean ‘swan’…please explain?!).
On the left hand side of the stage, unsubtly disguised as a dress box was the Prompter’s box, painted all black. It was interesting before the show to see the movement in and out. I do love the backstage details as much as the performance! Can I just say that the backlit dry ice floating above the drapes is too cool? I found myself wondering: how old are the Auction scene drapes? Could they still be using the originals?
I was about 6m from the front of the stage (I forgot about the orchestra pit!), and am about eye level with the actors’ calves. I listened to the orchestra warming up with something Oriental-sounding. It wasn’t any melody from the show that I could discern, unless it was some subtle harmony line.
I am going to wet myself when the chandelier comes down…or else have already, for the sheer sick feeling of ecstasy that I am seeing Phantom again, in London for heaven’s sake…

Auction/Overture
Oh, Mr Auctioneer…it’s ‘Rarwl’, not ‘Raoohl’ *sighs*. Simon coughed quite heavily after the music box dialogue, which isn’t something I’ve noticed (or, admittedly, keenly watched for) before. I was intensely anticipating the Overture—I think I could have reached out and touched the chandelier, I was so close. I cried…again. And Holy Bass!!!
It was the first time that I was seeing the show by myself, which I think I might like best of all (no offence, but if you could hear my thoughts during the show…no—it’s better that you don’t). I was sitting next to this young woman and her two younger daughters (presumably). The youngest girl (seven, perhaps) started getting really distressed only a minute or so into the Auction scene. The poor thing was crying, begging to be taken out, “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t”. She and her sister exited, just seconds before the Overture began. Their mother stayed, however for the whole first act, then left during Interval and returned for the rest of the show with another woman. I never saw the daughters again.

Hannibal/Think of Me
Costumes…the COSTUMES!!! So rich, so lush, colours and textures and fabrics, oh my! I noticed that Gina was on stage for ‘Hannibal’ from the start, then disappears off into the wings before the ballet begins. I’ve always been puzzled by this brief disappearance, and can only think that she leaves to get her mic fixed ready for TOM.
LOL, I noticed Carlotta’s dresser trying to finish her costumes as she’s rehearsing. The dresser was literally on her hands and knees at Carlotta’s hem with a needle and thread. There were two blonde dancers (Meg and some random ballet girl) for the ‘duet’ during the ballet segment, and when Gina finally rejoined the action, she was unfortunately not en pointe. I was sitting so close that I could hear the dancers’ shoes squeak and the beads rustling as they moved around the stage. I also heard an interesting exchange between Lefevre and Reyer: the former scolded Reyer, with “no notes, you’ve had plenty of time for rehearsal!” I’ve never heard such a line before!
Rebecca Lock has incontestably shot to #1 as my favourite Carlotta ever. I don’t even know how to begin describing how amazing this woman is, both vocally and theatrically. She totally redefined the character and I adored her interpretation. In ‘Hannibal’ she was a total ‘redhead’, fiery and passionate (that’s the best word I can think of to describe her character: passionate). Nicky Adams also stood out as Mme Giry (in that she has a very distinctive look—a round face). She did a very good job, but she’s not my favourite in the role. Lastly, I am in love with Emma Harris as Meg—she has a beautiful, deep chesty singing voice, and I loved her total confidence with her delivery of the line, “Christine could sing it”.

Think of Me
Gina looked as if she was about to bawl before she started singing, and (in keeping in character) she totally choked on the word ‘try’, so it was inaudible. There didn’t seem to be any blackout at all during the quick change, and did the backdrop rise up late, or was it just me? The stage doesn’t really look that big, especially with the fake dress boxes in the way, or maybe I’ve been spoilt with the Australian production.
Gina’s voice, though undeniably lovely, was sounding a bit dry here—perhaps because it’s a matinee? As she spun around her skirt flew open at the back, and that’s nice black knickers, Miss Beck! She copied the ‘Claire Moore’ cadenza at the end, which I have to say honestly I’ve never come to like.

After the Gala/Angel of Music/Little Lotte
I think I’ve stated this in every review I’ve ever written, but I’ll say it again: ballet girls are ADORABLE. They were really keyed up, jumping, clapping and chittering to each other, and to Christine. Nicky didn’t bang her cane after “come, we rehearse now” which I kind of missed.
LOL, Emma nearly pulled Gina over before AOM. Emma’s voice is so strong and throaty, it’s a lovely change from the light, sweet Megs of other productions. The song seemed really rushed, which sucks because its one of my favourite little scenes. There was a gorgeous little exchange between Emma and Gina as Meg left for rehearsals; this brief but intense ‘look’ between the two girls, as if (or because) they knew some huge secret that Mme Giry didn’t.
Can I just say, Mme Firmin’s gown is sooo pretty: violet silk, plum and burgundy beads and rouching…drool. I know I shouldn’t be mean, but I have to say I really didn’t like Simon’s take on Raoul, here or for the rest of the show. He had a momentary mind blank on “little Lotte, let her mind wander”, but he did say quite distinctly, “I know” after Gina said “Father is dead, Raoul.”

The Mirror/Phantom of the Opera
Gina channeled Rachel Barrell during David’s first verse, and doubled over against the vanity. I have to say, she was totally over the top in this scene, and it wasn’t so effective. I personally prefer that the ‘erotic trance’ Christine gets into here should start more subtly and build to a climax in MOTN. This is my only big annoyance about Gina’s performance: in the most ‘important’ scenes (such as MOTN), her acting feels very melodramatic and forced. Yet elsewhere in the show she offers an exquisite delicacy to Christine’s disposition that is captivating to watch.
I had a fantastic seat to watch the doubles move across the stage during the title song…the catwalk really does tilt as they walk across it! I felt David came across too strong in his first verse, which might sound like an odd thing to say given the circumstances. I’m working off shorthand notes I scribbled during the show, so pardon me if I don’t elaborate on some things *rolls eyes*. I can say that the candles rising were AMAZING, and the spectacle never loses its magic, even though I could almost see the mechanics of it.
I’m almost certain Gina lip-synched the cadenza, mostly based on her being quite calm (as in not heaving for breath) afterwards. I’m a singer myself, and believe me when I say that singing it can be exhausting.

The Music of the Night
This is going to sound like another mean comment, but I have to say I didn’t warm to David as the Phantom much at all. The best way I can explain why is in saying that he didn’t even get close to emotional depth—I’ll give him some benefit of the doubt with it being a matinee, and maybe he was just holding back for the evening show, but neither he nor Simon for that matter came across as having any chemistry with Gina at all. There’s nothing wrong with David’s voice, it’s just that his acting seemed quite weak and weary.
The lighting in this scene against the dry ice was gorgeous. This may seriously be my favourite scene of any musical, period. David touched his mask during “turn your face away” which I loved, and during the first bridge Gina made this “I can’t” face as David was singing “leave all thoughts of the world”, etc. and then ‘climaxed’ not-so-subtly during “soar”. I adore the London choreography of this lyrics, that instead of retreating back to the organ, the Phantom stands by Christine and ‘pulls’ the crescendo out of her. Afterwards Gina stood still with her arms across her belly, with this gorgeous little smile of satisfaction on her face.
By contrast, however, during the second bridge she appeared concerned/horrified for about two seconds after brushing past David on the portcullis, then wandered off looking interested in the candles for heaven’s sake. As David sang “be” she halted awkwardly and ‘climaxed’ again. I know it sounds like I’m being obscene, but actually it gave the impression that Gina’s control over herself was rapidly dissolving. Or to put it another way, that the Phantom’s control over her was more brusque than in other interpretations that I’ve seen. Does that make any sense? Probably not.
Gina physically resisted as she was pulled towards the mirror (“let the dream begin”), and I cannot tell you how happy I was that David caught her when she fainted. There was this beautiful little ‘still frame’ moment as he cradled her body, before he laid her in the boat. It was a decent version overall, but nothing wholly entrancing on David’s part. Sorry…

I Remember/Stranger Than You Dreamt It/Magical Lasso

I think it must be because I was sitting so close, but the ‘blackouts’ between scenes were anything but—I could clearly see the stagehands come on to dress David in his robe, and set down the music box (and check on Gina ). She ‘woke up’ absolutely beautifully, and OMG the violinist who played during this scene was exquisite. In my humble opinion Gina delivered the “whose is that face” etc. part perfectly, and seemed very repulsed and horrified after she removed the mask. Can someone help me here? Has the mirror bride at this stage been replaced with an actual dummy, because who/whatever was in the mirror really did look like she was made of wax! I was disappointed because there was no tender reconciliation whatsoever after Gina returned the mask; David stood with his back to her until it was time to deliver his line “come, we must return…”
Two quick and pointless things about ‘Magical Lasso’: firstly Buquet looked really young, which was a surprise I didn’t know whether to love or hate, and secondly there was a ballerina whose wig was fire engine red, and I loved it 

Notes/Prima Donna
Well, I normally don’t really take notes in this scene, and kind of just sit there politely. (I recall once stating spitefully that any scene without Christine in it was a waste of time…my, how I’ve come to regret that comment…). Yet by all account this scene actually became one of the highlights of this performance, and two words can sum up why: Rebecca Lock.
Firstly in ‘Notes’: I loved Barry James in his first verse, which is unusual because I generally don’t pay much attention to the managers. (I’m sounding very conceited, aren’t I?). The gentleman playing Andre, whilst he projected a suitable air of arrogance looked a touch too young for my personal taste, but then on the other hand it made for a refreshing change. Firmin’s wig is hideous, and that’s all I have to say.
I was sitting so close (yep, I will continue to brag about my incredible seats) that I could read the text on the notes in Notes. And may I just reiterate here how awesome Emma is as Meg? She doesn’t take any crap and stands her ground in front of the managers! So confident.
And now to Rebecca, and what can I say? I’m sure anyone who has seen her can agree, holy HELL can this woman SING! (She gets this great little growl in her voice when she’s mad). Rebecca is just perfect in ‘Prima Donna’. PERFECT. Every glance, every gesture—perfection. She played this scene as if singing for Carlotta borders on an almost orgasmic experience; the facial expressions she offered as she was getting more wrapped up in returning to the stage. And when I could finally drag my eyes away from her and remember that there were other characters on stage here, I caught some very interesting (suspicious) glances on Meg’s part to Raoul, in relation to his words about Christine.

Il Muto/Ballet
A few brief notes about this scene: OMG, Carlotta’s gown. Why has it taken me so long to realize how stunning it is? Lace! Velvet! Ruffles! Once again, Rebecca waltzes in and totally redefines my expectations of Carlotta, by delivering the best interpretation of this scene I think I’ve ever seen. Seriously. She’s rough with Gina—I swear I heard something tear than wasn’t Velcro when she pulled off the maid skirt. She gave some gorgeous croaks, and went all shuddery as she led off stage afterwards (as the scene headed towards the ballet), looking almost as if she could pass out from shock and embarrassment.
The skirts of the ballet girls has such a divine fabric on the ‘aprons’—it’s got this iridescent mother-of-pearl sheen. I wrote in my notes in capital letters that Emma did not dance in this scene…isn’t Meg supposed to be the ‘prima ballerina’ who comes in as the music changes and dances the pirouettes through the hoops? (Sometimes she wears a different coloured wig). Well, I seem to recall quite clearly that the girl who performed the aforementioned wasn’t Emma. Maybe I’m wrong, but…anyway.

The Rooftop/All I Ask of You/Reprise
This is such a gorgeous scene, isn’t it? I mean, the backdrop with the little lights, the wind effects, Christine’s costume…
What was also gorgeous was Gina’s “soar” here. It was divine, and pitched perfectly. It was in this scene that Gina’s acting became much more nuanced and 100% invested in the character. (That sounds like I’m stating the obvious, doesn’t it? I think what I mean is that her acting here was pretty much exactly how I like the character to be played). After she asked “what was that?” (before the music for AIAOY starts) she went over to the edge of the scenery and leant right the way over. It kind of looked like she was being sick, but I read somewhere recently that it can be standard choreography (for Christine) to teeter dangerously close to the edge of the roof before Raoul calls her back?
I might as well be blunt here: I didn’t like Simon here one iota. He came across as too pompous and distracted (self-absorbed), as if he sought Christine merely for his own gain (I got the impression of sex, which isn’t as grotesque as it sounds). He seemed to have few varying facial expressions, and vocally is too ‘possessive’ (that is, brusque). This only serves to highlight Gina’s vulnerability even further, and I just couldn’t warm to their pairing at all. Thus, AIAOY was not very exciting for me. I felt I couldn’t believe Simon’s “I love you” one bit.
By slight contrast then, I actually quite liked David’s reprise in the angel; it was nuanced which was nice after MOTN. And, the thrill of sitting so close to the stage: I did think for a split second that the chandelier might hit me!!

Interval
Yeah, I even paid attention here. They brought the safety curtain down during the interval! Is that standard? Noise reduction for the set change to ‘Masquerade’ or literally a safety precaution?
I studied the gold statues on the proscenium, and its all about Gods grabbing women’s breasts! I’ll bet there’s some intentional symbolism there…I wonder if anyone else in the audience ever notices?

Entr’acte/Masquerade
I swear the Entr’acte was played faster than usual—our conductor was very enthusiastic, here and throughout the show. I greatly enjoyed watching him for his efforts.
This is going to sound a bit weird, but I swear Carlotta was drunk even before ‘Masquerade’ began. (Meaning, Rebecca was pretending Carlotta was already drunk, not that Rebecca herself was drunk…). She was fun to watch! The young dancer who was in the ‘Diana’ costume, I would swear was the same girl who danced the lead in the ‘Il Muto’ ballet…the one I thought was normally danced by Meg? Also, the fiery red-headed ballerina I mentioned in ‘Magical Lasso’ seemed to be playing the Triangle Girl here, since it certainly looked like the same wig. I don’t know, maybe I’m getting mixed up here, but they stood out to me (as thinking I’d seen them before) or else I wouldn’t be noting them.
I have to say, Gina’s dress is not pretty—compared to other versions (and even other costumes here) it looks clumsily decorated. But oh, the costumes in this scene are just dazzling.

Notes II/Twisted Ev’ry Way
I know I’ll come across as totally stupid that I only just noticed this, but it seems Gina has two wigs in the show: a short, tightly curled wig for Act 1, and a much longer, softer curled one for Act 2 (or at least the first time I noticed it was in this scene). Perhaps its an illustration of six passing months between acts? Certainly I felt the looser, more ‘messy’ wig helped in suggesting Christine’s steady mental breakdown in this scene. She just comes across as so fragile here, as if she hasn’t eaten or slept in weeks. Gina did an amazing job in this scene.
Rebecca’s delivery of “she’s mad” was interesting—her enunciation and facial expressions gave the insinuation that she was almost a bit sympathetic towards Christine. I really liked it, I must say—it gave Carlotta a bit of a heart. Because lets face it, in a lot of ways she’s an innocent woman, cast aside by the arrival of Christine onto the opera stage, who I don’t personally think has the stamina to cut it as an opera singer (or at least based on what we see of her). Carlotta might be a bitch, but she’s also human and pretty much the entire opera company dislikes her.
I think Gina’s matinee vocal ‘dryness’ really worked to her advantage here: like I said, it reinforced Christine’s exhausted, haunted disposition. After ‘Twisted’, Gina seemed on the absolute verge of fainting—she slumped back in the chair as Raoul sung to her, looking sallow.

Don Juan Rehearsal/Wishing/Wandering Child
Okay, I’ll admit: I’ve never been 100% sure what the heck Piangi is supposed to be screwing up here, vocally. I’ve heard one version where Piangi blatantly misses the pitch of the notes, but in most other versions both his pitch and pronunciation seem too close to Reyer’s to warrant so strong a reaction of exasperation. Here, Piangi imitated Reyer’s frazzled ‘tan, tan tan’ by singing “those who tan-tan-tangle with Don Juan…”, but still I could discern no blatant mistake. Oh well.
Wow, Gina in the ‘Journey to the Cemetery’ scene…her voice was all dry and wobbly which suited perfectly, but in the instrumental between here and the start of ‘Wishing’, she totally doubled over with these great, racking sobs. It was almost heart-breaking…
The cemetery set is so gorgeous, isn’t it? Gah. A word about Gina’s vocals here: her higher notes (‘could’, ‘here’, etc) in each verse were really lovely, with a beautiful ‘operatic’ sound and ample warmth, but in her lower register she still suffers from a ‘murky’ timbre that sounds a lit unpolished. She produced some fairly gut-wrenching facial expressions, though, so that was enough consolation for me.
In ‘Wandering Child’, during David’s “I am your angel…” Gina harkened back to her gestures from MOTN, which looked awesome. *I’m sorry if this review comes across as fragmented and quite judgmental; I actually enjoyed it a hell of a lot more than I thought I would, and I don’t mean to take a stab at the actors. This is all just my humble opinion…*

Don Juan/Point of No Return
In other productions I’ve seen, Carlotta wears a stunning costume here, but unfortunately the London version is distinctly different, and not nearly as pretty. I did, however come to like Piangi’s costume of all things, with its port wine velvet and gold braids. And can I note: I always feel sorry for Christine’s shawl here: ten seconds on her shoulders, and the rest of the scene on the floor!
This was a pretty fabulous scene, from an acting standpoint, particularly from Gina. During the ‘breast groping’ at the end of David’s verse, both actors’ hands shook, which I thought was a nice touch. It does look like Christine knees the Phantom in the kidneys as she sings the second half of her verse, however.
During the AIAOY reprise from David, Gina acted somewhere between fainting and choking back sobs—she didn’t appear at all keen to be with him, and I’m suggesting more than just in the context of the scene (like I said, I didn’t pick up a whole lot of chemistry between the two of them). I feel the need to mention Rebecca again, too: even though she’s scarcely seen in the chaos, she made Carlotta’s reaction to Piangi’s death absolutely wonderful.

Down Once More/Final Lair
Gina finally stops weeping and resorts back to being woozy for the boat ride to the lair. David’s hair grabbing wasn’t so violent—I really think he used this matinee to warm up for the evening performance, both vocally and theatrically.
The London ladies are robust when it comes to the entrance to the ‘Final Lair’, aren’t they? They don’t let themselves get thrown to the floor, often running in ahead of the Phantom. Gina’s back to sobbing here, and David offers an interesting approach pitch-wise to his line, “poisons our love”.
David very (and I mean very) nearly missed getting the noose around Simon’s neck in time, and let’s just spit on Gina as she’s lying, cowering on the floor after “start a new life”! Simon made a good attempt at choking in the noose (it’s always nice to see poor Raoul do something here…I know the poor guy doesn’t get all that much character development, does he?). During his line “either way you choose…send him to his grave”, David held Gina in his arms parallel to the floor, reminiscent to the faint in MOTN, which I thought was a nice variation in choreography. After she sang “I gave my life blindly”, Gina was audibly gasping and crying, whilst Simon looked on the verge of unconsciousness in the noose. He immediately perked up for the kiss, and OMG his face afterwards was priceless—I very nearly burst out laughing (not that the moment is at all funny).
David made a whole lot of mewing and sniffling after “go now”, which I found surprisingly touching. Gina took forever to leave after she returned the ring: firstly she cradled the ring to her cheek, then as David reached out to touch her face she crumpled into sobs—it looked stunning. The rest of the scene is fairly standard, though I made a note that the false back of the Phantom’s throne looked so obvious—at least from where I was sitting.

Was that really bad? Well, if it was, here's a consolation present: Photos!



MlleMusique

Posts : 106
Join date : 2009-09-22
Location : Australia

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: LONDON: David Shannon, Gina Beck & Simon Bailey

Post  operafantomet on Mon Jul 19, 2010 7:01 am

Hehe, I have a review of this cast, from December 2009. Wink But cool to read such a detailed review! And I totally agree abut HMT, it's one of my favourite settings for POTO, as well as a beautiful theatre in general.

Oh, Mr Auctioneer…it’s ‘Rarwl’, not ‘Raoohl’ *sighs*
To be honest, I think you're wrong. In proper French pronunciation the latter is the correct form, not the former. But if any truly fluent French speakers disagree, feel free to say so!

Costumes…the COSTUMES!!! So rich, so lush, colours and textures and fabrics, oh my!
The London costumes are seriously textured and glittering in Hannibal. I think I watch the costumes more than I watch the cast members! Very Happy

Nicky Adams also stood out as Mme Giry (in that she has a very distinctive look—a round face). She did a very good job, but she’s not my favourite in the role.
That's pretty much how I feel about her. She was much better than expected (cause I had read some pretty negative reviews). She was by most standards good in the role. And very distinctive look, yes.

I’m almost certain Gina lip-synched the cadenza, mostly based on her being quite calm (as in not heaving for breath) afterwards. I’m a singer myself, and believe me when I say that singing it can be exhausting.
I'm not completely sure, but when I saw her in December she seemed to sing live on top of the prerecorded cadenza. There was much more sound when she turned towards the audience. But there's definitely some playback going on!

Can someone help me here? Has the mirror bride at this stage been replaced with an actual dummy, because who/whatever was in the mirror really did look like she was made of wax!
No, it's still the actress/Christine understudy, but she's repositioning herself during the blackout so she can stand a bit more up and "lock" her position. The blank mask helps cover her facial expres​sion(s).

A few brief notes about this scene: OMG, Carlotta’s gown. Why has it taken me so long to realize how stunning it is? Lace! Velvet! Ruffles!
Apparently I'm the only one not loving it. I think it's too fluffy and non-historical, especially newer versions. That said, I think the hint of mint green the London gowns has is quite lovely.

I wrote in my notes in capital letters that Emma did not dance in this scene…isn’t Meg supposed to be the ‘prima ballerina’ who comes in as the music changes and dances the pirouettes through the hoops? (Sometimes she wears a different coloured wig). Well, I seem to recall quite clearly that the girl who performed the aforementioned wasn’t Emma. Maybe I’m wrong, but…anyway.
Meg usually dance this scene, but seldom as the lead. The blonde wig the lead sylphide wears, however, makes many think Meg is her. Not all productions have the blonde wig, though.

This is such a gorgeous scene, isn’t it? I mean, the backdrop with the little lights, the wind effects, Christine’s costume…
I totally agree! I absolutely love this set, especially with the glittering stars and the clouds passing. Several has said this set should be expanded somehow, but I want to keep it just like this.

After she asked “what was that?” (before the music for AIAOY starts) she went over to the edge of the scenery and leant right the way over. It kind of looked like she was being sick, but I read somewhere recently that it can be standard choreography (for Christine) to teeter dangerously close to the edge of the roof before Raoul calls her back?
At least the London Christines use this blocking, but they emphasize the "standing near the edge" in different ways. Katie Knight Adams was one of the first I noticed did something major out of it - she leaved forward, held her arms out, and genuinely looked like she was about to commit suicide. I actually found that interesting. I also think some sort of acting her makes Raoul's CHRISTINE!!" more to the point.

They brought the safety curtain down during the interval! Is that standard? Noise reduction for the set change to ‘Masquerade’ or literally a safety precaution?
It's a mandatory safety procedure in London, done for every performance. Though, I'm not sure why it's done. I like watching it, though. It makes me realize I really am at HMT. Very Happy

I swear the Entr’acte was played faster than usual—our conductor was very enthusiastic, here and throughout the show. I greatly enjoyed watching him for his efforts.
I noticed the same! They are speedy in London, especially in the Entr'acte. Don't know why.

I know I’ll come across as totally stupid that I only just noticed this, but it seems Gina has two wigs in the show: a short, tightly curled wig for Act 1, and a much longer, softer curled one for Act 2 (or at least the first time I noticed it was in this scene). Perhaps its an illustration of six passing months between acts?
That is a mysterious little detail. I've seen the same, and I've heard various explanations. When I saw Katie Knight Adams back in the ol' days, I noticed they had changed the wig when Christine changed from Star Princess dress to Wishing dress. The "side burns" with curls was off and revealed th wig cap underneath, and the wig was MUCH longer. I never understood why they changed it. But some years after I noticed Rachel Barrell's wig also was changed during a performance, to a longer one. The one she wore in the first act was so short compared to the second act one.

Best explanation I've heard, is that the London Christines wear wigs made of natural hair, and they're curled by wood spools, spray and damp. These curls tend to break down very fast if the weather is dampy and/or very hot. You can see the result of this in the stage clips in the disc 2 of the 2004 movie. The wig has hardly any curls left, and looks rather miserable. Instead of this, they seem to just change the wig. It was either Gina Beck or Rachel Barrell who said this in an interview.

Rebecca’s delivery of “she’s mad” was interesting—her enunciation and facial expressions gave the insinuation that she was almost a bit sympathetic towards Christine. I really liked it, I must say—it gave Carlotta a bit of a heart.
Eva Malmgren did the same in Copenhagen, and I think it's a great little detail.

David’s hair grabbing wasn’t so violent—I really think he used this matinee to warm up for the evening performance, both vocally and theatrically.
I don't think the difference lies in matinée/evening. There's something about David Shannon himself. I found him reluctant too, somehow - he seemed to hold back for most of the show, not giving it all, saving both voice and acting (with some exceptions, I adored his "I gave you my music", and I also think he did a strong "Final Lair").

Again, thank you for a great review! Too bad you didn't like Simon Bailey, I think he is a fantastic Raoul, but taste do differ. And I'm glad you had a jolly time! Very Happy

_________________
JOSEFINE TO THE PHANTOM:
You come off as... somewhat... rough...

operafantomet

Posts : 3600
Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 37
Location : Norway

View user profile http://www.anea.no

Back to top Go down

Re: LONDON: David Shannon, Gina Beck & Simon Bailey

Post  Scorp on Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:17 am

Great review! Very Happy

MlleMusique wrote:I remain convinced that having gotten seat D15 for 45 pounds, I was the happiest girl in the world for those few hours.

D15 is a great seat! Towards the front of the stalls I think is where I enjoy seeing the London production the most, although it's a shame you don't get the nice overview of seeing the candles during the title song etc when they first rise from there.

Sitting so close to the stage, and with my glasses (the clarity, oh joy!) I was able to clearly read the dust covers over the various Auction prop pieces: ‘chandelier’ for the chandelier, obviously, ‘boite a musique’ and ‘le cygne’ (which I translated to mean ‘swan’…please explain?!).

'Chandelier' is something I would change (see the 'What would you change thread?' on the main ALW's Phantom board). The chandelier is really what the French would call a 'lustre'. As for the swan, I do have a tentative explanation: in the auction scene in the Sydmonton try-out, I believe Lot 663 was a wooden swan rather than a poster as it is today. Perhaps it's a left-over from that.

how old are the Auction scene drapes? Could they still be using the originals?

Could be, I'm not sure. My bet is that they're not the originals though -- they often get caught on the statues (I've seen that happen) during the overture so I wouldn't be surprised if the originals ended up being damaged. The chandelier is not the original, I think they're onto the second one (at least) now. I think the candelabra during the title song are not the originals. I know for certain that the Phantom's organ is relatively new -- they only got it a couple of a years ago. I think the proscenium statues are all the originals though. This is a fairly interesting topic -- anyone know for certain what is and isn't new re the London sets?

Oh, Mr Auctioneer…it’s ‘Rarwl’, not ‘Raoohl’ *sighs*.

Actually, the latter would be more accurate. The way Sarah Brightman and THAT singer say the name is not at all how the name is said in France.

Simon coughed quite heavily after the music box dialogue, which isn’t something I’ve noticed (or, admittedly, keenly watched for) before.

I think a lot of the London Raouls like to die by coughing at that point...haha.

I also heard an interesting exchange between Lefevre and Reyer: the former scolded Reyer, with “no notes, you’ve had plenty of time for rehearsal!” I’ve never heard such a line before!

I love hearing ad libs like that. One time I remember enjoying hearing Mme Giry scold the slavemaster for flirting with Meg.

Rebecca Lock has incontestably shot to #1 as my favourite Carlotta ever. I don’t even know how to begin describing how amazing this woman is, both vocally and theatrically. She totally redefined the character and I adored her interpretation.

She is, IMHO, the best Carlotta of the 2000s. Up there with Rosemary Ashe and Jasna Ivir in the league of super Carlottas.

She copied the ‘Claire Moore’ cadenza at the end, which I have to say honestly I’ve never come to like.

I've very rarely heard the Brightman cadenza used in London. In fact, I'm not sure I have heard it used in London. Has any London Christine used it since Brightman herself?


I know I shouldn’t be mean, but I have to say I really didn’t like Simon’s take on Raoul, here or for the rest of the show. He had a momentary mind blank on “little Lotte, let her mind wander”, but he did say quite distinctly, “I know” after Gina said “Father is dead, Raoul.”

OMG! I love Simon's Little Lotte and his Raoul in general. Oh well, each to their own...

This is going to sound like another mean comment, but I have to say I didn’t warm to David as the Phantom much at all. The best way I can explain why is in saying that he didn’t even get close to emotional depth—I’ll give him some benefit of the doubt with it being a matinee, and maybe he was just holding back for the evening show, but neither he nor Simon for that matter came across as having any chemistry with Gina at all. There’s nothing wrong with David’s voice, it’s just that his acting seemed quite weak and weary.

I disagree with you about the lack of chemistry between Simon and Gina as I think they have chemistry in spades, but I completely agree with you about David Shannon. Pretty much everyone I know uses the same phrase to describe his Phantom, as if he's "holding back". Maybe he never will actually 'let go' and deliver what we think he may be able to deliver. Here's hoping the next Phantom is a lot better, otherwise I will have to go when the standby is on to get my money's worth...


I might as well be blunt here: I didn’t like Simon here one iota. He came across as too pompous and distracted (self-absorbed), as if he sought Christine merely for his own gain (I got the impression of sex, which isn’t as grotesque as it sounds). He seemed to have few varying facial expressions, and vocally is too ‘possessive’ (that is, brusque). This only serves to highlight Gina’s vulnerability even further, and I just couldn’t warm to their pairing at all. Thus, AIAOY was not very exciting for me. I felt I couldn’t believe Simon’s “I love you” one bit.

Shocking -- I always have a completely opposite reaction when I see Simon and Gina together. I consider their AIAOY the best I've seen in years, and certainly the most interesting to watch. But as I said, chacun a son goût...

By slight contrast then, I actually quite liked David’s reprise in the angel; it was nuanced which was nice after MOTN.

Isn't it funny how pretty much everyone likes Shannon's Angel scene but little else? Oh well, at least he mastered that scene. I do agree with you that he does well in this part.

They brought the safety curtain down during the interval! Is that standard? Noise reduction for the set change to ‘Masquerade’ or literally a safety precaution?

It's a standard London thing done in all West End theatres. I'm not entirely sure why, but I think it is a requirement for the safety curtain to be lowered and raised in the presence of the audience. Don't quote me on this though.

I studied the gold statues on the proscenium, and its all about Gods grabbing women’s breasts! I’ll bet there’s some intentional symbolism there…I wonder if anyone else in the audience ever notices?

You bet, it's a crucial part of Prince and Bjørnson's concept of the show as a piece about repressed sexuality. Whether the audience consciously notices it or not, I think the idea is that it should at least inform the subsconscious of each spectator.


Was that really bad? Well, if it was, here's a consolation present: Photos!




Ooh, well spotted costumes! Liking the photo a lot.

_________________
In Hal Prince we trust.

Scorp

Posts : 1308
Join date : 2009-09-21

View user profile http://phantomslair.com

Back to top Go down

Re: LONDON: David Shannon, Gina Beck & Simon Bailey

Post  operafantomet on Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:38 am

Scorp wrote:
She copied the ‘Claire Moore’ cadenza at the end, which I have to say honestly I’ve never come to like.
I've very rarely heard the Brightman cadenza used in London. In fact, I'm not sure I have heard it used in London. Has any London Christine used it since Brightman herself?
To be a bit snarky, all Christines in London who's been able to sing the Claire Moore one have done it, the others stick to the Sarah Brightman one... Katie Knight Adams did the Brigthman cadenza early in her run, but I think she... ahem, attempted the Moore one later on. If I remember correctly, Lisa Hull did the Brightman version as well.

I wonder why international Christines don't do it. I remember someone asked Jennifer Hope Wills when she started as Christine. Her response was that she and several other Broadway Christines had asked to do the Moore one, as she meant it's easier for a soprano to actually sing than the Brightman one. But they were told it was a "London only" thing. Rebecca Caine did it in Canada, but that's a no-brainer since she originally did the role in London. However, Inger Olsson Moberg (and occasionally Elisabeth Berg) did it in Sweden, and neither was connected with the London production. Maybe they had a cooler conductor... Laughing

Did any other of the Canadian Christines do the Moore cadenza, by the way?

_________________
JOSEFINE TO THE PHANTOM:
You come off as... somewhat... rough...

operafantomet

Posts : 3600
Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 37
Location : Norway

View user profile http://www.anea.no

Back to top Go down

Re: LONDON: David Shannon, Gina Beck & Simon Bailey

Post  Scorp on Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:53 am

operafantomet wrote:
Scorp wrote:
She copied the ‘Claire Moore’ cadenza at the end, which I have to say honestly I’ve never come to like.
I've very rarely heard the Brightman cadenza used in London. In fact, I'm not sure I have heard it used in London. Has any London Christine used it since Brightman herself?
To be a bit snarky, all Christines in London who's been able to sing the Claire Moore one have done it, the others stick to the Sarah Brightman one... Katie Knight Adams did the Brigthman cadenza early in her run, but I think she... ahem, attempted the Moore one later on. If I remember correctly, Lisa Hull did the Brightman version as well.

I wonder why international Christines don't do it. I remember someone asked Jennifer Hope Wills when she started as Christine. Her response was that she and several other Broadway Christines had asked to do the Moore one, as she meant it's easier for a soprano to actually sing than the Brightman one. But they were told it was a "London only" thing. Rebecca Caine did it in Canada, but that's a no-brainer since she originally did the role in London. However, Inger Olsson Moberg (and occasionally Elisabeth Berg) did it in Sweden, and neither was connected with the London production. Maybe they had a cooler conductor... Laughing

Did any other of the Canadian Christines do the Moore cadenza, by the way?

That's interesting... I can't even remember now what cadenza was used when I saw the Broadway and Vegas productions. Or in Copenhagen. Didn't realise the Moore version was fairly uncommon internationally.

By the way, in my post above, when it says 'THAT singer' -- just to be clear -- I actually wrote E-m-m-y R-o-s-s-um. Laughing I ask the admin to consider putting inverted commas around the word singer (like this: "singer"). Razz

_________________
In Hal Prince we trust.

Scorp

Posts : 1308
Join date : 2009-09-21

View user profile http://phantomslair.com

Back to top Go down

Re: LONDON: David Shannon, Gina Beck & Simon Bailey

Post  operafantomet on Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:10 pm

Scorp wrote:By the way, in my post above, when it says 'THAT singer' -- just to be clear -- I actually wrote E-m-m-y R-o-s-s-um. Laughing I ask the admin to consider putting inverted commas around the word singer (like this: "singer"). Razz
Duly noted. Laughing Laughing

_________________
JOSEFINE TO THE PHANTOM:
You come off as... somewhat... rough...

operafantomet

Posts : 3600
Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 37
Location : Norway

View user profile http://www.anea.no

Back to top Go down

Re: LONDON: David Shannon, Gina Beck & Simon Bailey

Post  Sponsored content Today at 1:58 pm


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum