Alex Wood | 17 Jul 2013 15:50pm
In spite of some lovely, memorable songs and a story line that is good but only up to a point – I am very suspicious of ghosts in any musical except Scrooge – Carousel has never been a favourite of mine. But when the chance to review it came up I thought I’d give it another shot, especially as BMOS are clearly an ambitious group, presenting the show in a 1300-seat professional theatre. Overall, I think BMOS made a good job of presenting Carousel. Singing, by both the ensemble and the principals was good, Abigail Wells setting the standard with her fine performance as Julie Jordan. While no other voices were particularly outstanding the principals, Abigail, Marie Donellan (Carrie Pipperidge), James Gordanifar (Billy Bigelow) and Chris Psarsas (Enoch Snow)had a good grasp of their characters, Billy doggedly displaying a hopelessly delinquent tendency in the face of a need to become a responsible husband and father. Carrie was played just right – a ‘nice girl’ but still good fun and a constant friend to Julie – and Mr Snow, an easy-going, bumbling, (fishy) and kind man but with a surprisingly ambitious streak. I also enjoyed the performances of Sally Jolliffe as the kindly Nettie Fowler, Michelle Worthington as the cougar-like (and not in a nice way) Mrs Mullin and Pat Pryce as Jigger Craigin, the man who leads Billy astray (and who even got some boos at curtain call – well done!). American accents were good and consistent. The chorus numbers were well done in general and diction was good. The opening scene at the fair was a joy to see and hear (though I hope someone will oil the carousel before the second night – the squeak was a distraction to an otherwise perfect start) but sometimes the dancing was not as fluent as I’d have expected, especially when the whole ensemble were onstage. That said, I was very impressed by the male chorus dancing to Blow High, Blow Low – masculine but almost balletic. I also enjoyed the Summer 1927 ballet sequence – well done to Elysia Stretton and her co-dancers for making this such a touching scene as Bilie sees his daughter for the first time. No expense seemed to have been spared on scenery and costumes which meant the show really lived up to its big theatre setting. But there seemed to be one or two technical difficulties on the first night. In such a large theatre as the Alex some amplification is needed and radio mikes were used by everyone in the cast but the sound was not always as good as it should have been, with, I guess, the mikes making contact with faces/costumes and some mobile phone interference too. Lighting on the whole was ably done but there were a couple of occasions when central characters needed more light than they were given. A couple of noisy scene changes could be clearly heard in the mid-stalls. The show was supported by an excellent orchestra, ably led by MD David Easto.
In spite of my own reservations about the show itself I do know that this show has many, many admirers. I have to say that this Carousel had a great deal to commend it, making for a very good musical night out. Well done, BMOS
- : admin
- : 16/07/2013