The Producers

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The Producers

Post  operafantomet on Tue Jan 25, 2011 6:08 pm

The Producers opens in two weeks in Oslo. First time ever in Norway, even. I have tickets for the opening night, which I of course look forward to. In the mean time, here's a short article and a 17-photos picture gallery: http://www.nrk.no/kultur-og-underholdning/1.7478104

Looks a bit... well, unimaginative. I hoped they would add their own flair to it, this looks generic and not even that posh. Guess I've been spoiled by musical productions at Det Norske Teatret and Det Ny Teater...

Speaking of the latter, this is still the best "If you got it, flaunt it" number I've seen. The Ulla is phenomenal!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LG-kZemxbcs

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Re: The Producers

Post  ladygodiva on Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:11 am

operafantomet wrote:The Producers opens in two weeks in Oslo. First time ever in Norway, even. I have tickets for the opening night, which I of course look forward to. In the mean time, here's a short article and a 17-photos picture gallery: http://www.nrk.no/kultur-og-underholdning/1.7478104

Looks a bit... well, unimaginative. I hoped they would add their own flair to it, this looks generic and not even that posh. Guess I've been spoiled by musical productions at Det Norske Teatret and Det Ny Teater...

Speaking of the latter, this is still the best "If you got it, flaunt it" number I've seen. The Ulla is phenomenal!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LG-kZemxbcs

I just watched the If you got it, flaunt it number and it was quite good. its fun to watch even though I cannot understand the language, fun and I could make out the auditions and resume and a few other english words, well done

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Re: The Producers

Post  operafantomet on Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:14 pm

Glad you liked the clip, Ladygodiva! I should add that it's from the theatre award Reumert and not an actual stage clip. Cast, blocking and basic set is the same, but the set was a lot more elaborate on the proper stage.

Anyhow, saw a preview of Oslo's "The Producers" tonight. For the most I am really impressed.

Max Bialystock: Anders Hatlo
Leo Bloom: Jan Martin Johnsen
Ulla: Hilde Louise Asbjørnsen
Roger de Bris: Geir Kvarme
Franz Liebkind: Ivar Nørve

Director: Anders Aldgård
Choreography: Jonas Georg Digerud
Scenography: Erik Fredriksson/ Marcus Englesson
Costumes: Lars-Åke Wilhelmsson


SETS:
The theatre is a tiny one. I am still flabbergasted they managed to stage "Les Miserables" there two years ago. But usually they are really creative with their sets. Alas, this time it was old-fashioned in a non-cool way. It was lots of "curtain down with actors in front while the set is replaced" (think Madame Giry and Raoul after Masquerade). Some of the sets worked fine, some were less impressive. The use of perspective was good; I think the biggest problem was that so much of the solid walls were wobbly and wrong-sized. Especially Bialystock's office. Everything was tiny, and the walls wabbly. Seriously! I disliked that one a lot.

There were some impressive moments still. The set for "Unhappy" was genius. My God, I loved it. Basically a large wall of tiny drawers, and six desks in front. The actors could move the desks around in a silly way when seated, which was used to full effect. And in "I wanna be a producer" the drawers transformed into a big wall of light where various stuff could be written. So simple, and so cool to watch. Another impressive set was the actual "Springtime for Hitler". Very creative.

The funniest moment still was when Franz Liebkind fired his gun in Bialystock's office. One bullet went astray (on purpose of course), and mock-damaged one of the spotlights above the audience, which made it fall halfway down, swinging in mid-air. The audience underneath screamed. Hahaha! So much fun. And yes, it was a part of the show and not a mishap.

CAST:
In the opening number I decided I didn't like Hatlo as Bialystock. That lasted for about 10 minutes, and I liked him more and more. In the end I loved him. Never warmed to JMJ as Bloom, however. Problem was that he was good as the well-to-do producer in his fantasies and in the end scene. But he just wasn't convincing as nevrotic Bloom. And that's pretty essential... I would much rather see his understudy Hans Marius Hoff Mittet, which has been excellent in everything I've seen him in, and which stood out in every scene he was in. They should switch roles, pronto.

Asbjørnsen as Ulla was a hit-and-miss. She has a nice comical timing, and look like a mixture of Marilyn Monroe and the cutest baby ever. She also moved well on stage. But her singing voice leaves something to be desired. When she announced her belting, I waited a long time for it, until I realized what she was singing was supposed to be belting. Also, the blocking was too much blueprint of what Uma Thurman did in the movie. Yet, I liked Asbjørnsen in the role. Didn't think OMGBESTEVVAH as the Danish clip I posted, but I liked her peculiar style. You can't help but watch her on stage, which is very... Ulla... Would be curious to see what her understudy Anette Larsen would do with the role, though.

Nørve as Frank was solid stuff, but the guy who stole the show was Kvarme as de Bris, plus his whole entourage. Just perfect. In so many ways.

THE GOOD:
I had a group of seniors on my left and a group of teenagers on my right. I was sure the teenagers would be easily bored, and the seniors appalled. But both groups were laughing their teeth out in both act 1 and 2, and they were laughing at the same places. Oh, the wonder of theatre... It was such a good atmosphere in the audience, and with good reason. "The Producers" really is an excellent piece of musical theatre.

As mentioned, the scene "Unhappy/I wanna be a producer" was top notch. I wanna see it again, and again, and again! I also loved "Keep it gay" and "Betrayed". And "Springtime for Hitler" never cease to amaze me. It's wacko. And therefore fantastic. What a Face

THE BAD:
I was very curious on how they would solve Ulla's Swedish accent. The Scandinavian languages are very similar, and Swedish is probably the least exotic way of speaking you can find in Oslo. They solved it well in Denmark, making her speak this odd Danish-Swedish language. In Norway.... she spoke all Swedish. Fluent Swedish. Which was really, really, really silly. Not funny silly. Silly, as in "What the hell were they thinking?". Had she spoken Norwegian words with a Swedish accent it would have both made more sense and been a lot more fun. This killed most of the humorous appeal Ulla has. Fail! (not blaming the actress for this, though)

As mentioned, the wabbly, tiny sets left a lot to be desired. Far from all sets were like these, and some were highly creative too. So it was a hit-and-miss affaire. Not sure if the set designers are to blame for this or not.

There's probably a lot more to say. But I can't think of what it is right now. I need to jump into bed! But in general, I liked it a lot, both because "The Producers" is a highly enjoyable musical, and because this production had many, many good moments and a few excellent ones. In large these outweighed the bad ones. So I went out of these with a big smile on my mouth.

And now... Z-z-z-z-z....


Pics here: http://www.oslonye.no/forestillinger/41064.html

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Re: The Producers

Post  operafantomet on Thu Feb 03, 2011 10:02 pm

Opening night of "The Producers" tonight.

I actually thought the energy on stage was better at the dress rehearsal. Or maybe it was the guy next to me who killed the mood. I sat behind some guy involved in the production, and apparently the guy next to me wanted to impress/support him, or he was hired as a professional laugher. He laaaaaaughed loud and annoyingly all through the show, underlining that "This is funny, folks". I think everyone around me reacted to this guy, and if anything his effort made stuff less funny. I was so fed up with him in the second act. Hate!

I forgot to mention the violinist in my review. They have a "blind" violinist on stage for the opening number, and use him to great effect. Nice detail. The choreography for this number is very cool, very Russian/Eastern European in style, which suits the song well. And they have a very strong ensemble in this production. Good singers AND good dancers, and very in sync.

Still madly in love with the "Unhappy/I wanna be a producer" scene. Just so good.

Still hating the office set(s). Ugly, wabbly and amateur theatre looking. I mean, seriously? Yes, you can turn it 180 degrees and get an entirely different set. Smart. I get it. But it's still ugly and wabbly. Even when painted all white. But I learned today that all sets and costumes were bought from Sweden, so I'm thinking they went with what they got.

"Betrayed" was awesome today. Anders Hatlo would not be my first choice as Max Bialystock - that is, I would not guess he would be that good in the role. But his style is well suited, and he's also a good actor. Very good role for him.

The Bloom, however... Not clicking with him. Would give a lot to see his understudy in his place. He has a more distinctive style, and a much better voice. I know "The Producers" is larger-than-life in style, but this Bloom is neither that nor convincing. I'm not disliking him, as he has his moments, but he's so inconsistent. Had they had two great leads, this production would have been in another league alltogether.

Anyhow, opening nights are great fun. Lots of celebrities, an excited cast, and even free chocolate... Smile


ETA: the first professional review is already online. WTF? The performance ended one hour ago! It's a highly positive review, though. In Norwegian the dice is used - 6 is rave, 1 is butchering. It got 5. But most of the review is about the actual musical and not this production. "When I saw it on Broadway, blah-blah-blah..." I hope other reviews are more in-depth.
http://www.dagbladet.no/2011/02/03/kultur/scene/sceneanmeldelse/anmeldelser/teater/15305522/

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