Tuesday, 24 August 2010

I was in Edinburgh.... (Part Two)

Well, I now know my GCSE results, and I'm so pleased with them. I couldn't have wished for better results really.

Now, back onto topic. I must say that I have been fascinated with the concept of playbills ever since I begun to visit the Broadway section of broadwayworld.com. It's such a great idea to have a free cast list/synopsis, because whilst I would still buy the programme in most cases, it gives some audience members an invaluable source of information which they might not want to pay for. This became apparent to me in Edinburgh, where at each show, bar one, we were effectively provided with a playbill. I think it would be such a good idea if all theatres in London were to do this.

Anyway, I will now continue my reviews, using the playbills which I hadn't unpacked yesterday:

Plague! The Musical, C Venues ***1/2

I chose this because several people had recommended it to me on numerous occasions. It was the one show of the day that was exactly how I thought it would be. There was just the right amount of humour, although much of the plot did not really concern the plague, so the latter part of the show felt a little rushed. It was lovely to hear an original musical which has not been performed in town as of yet, and the up-tempo songs worked extremely well, especially with the choreography. However, I felt that the piece lacked some really powerful big ballads that would touch the emotions.

All of the performances were good, but my personal favourite (maybe even my favourite performance of the day) came from Lucyelle Cliff as Death/Polly. I thought her facial expressions and body language were extraordinary, and every time she was on the stage she commanded my attention.

Overall, Plague! The Musical was an enjoyable way to spend an hour and a half, and I can see why it enjoys the reputation it has at the fringe.

The Last Five Years, C aquila, ****

This was the venue that we had the shortest time to find (half an hour), and it also proved the most difficult to find. Luckily we arrived with ten minutes to spare, and then the show started a bit late.

The venue reminded me of the Menier inside, although the air conditioning was nowhere near as effective. At that point, I immediately regretted wearing a long sleeved, high necked dress made of blue lycra, leggings and Dr. Martens. Anyway, the seats were a lot more comfortable than those at the Menier, which made up for it.

I had been interested in seeing "The Last Five Years" ever since attending one of Hannah Waddingham's cabaret at Trinity, where she sung "Still Hurting" and spoke of Jason Robert Brown as though he is a skilled composer and lyricist in the way of Sondheim. I agree with this point. Having listened to the music beforehand, I noticed the same clever lyrics and marriage between the music and lyrics. It's rare to see a production of this in the UK - I believe the last proffesional one was at the Menier in 2006, so I took the chance to see this.

The show began at 10:30, so I was very glad that I had taken the chance to listen to and appreciate the lyrics beforehand, because by that time I was becoming quite tired. I really enjoyed the show, the small fourpiece orchestra were visible on stage, and it was just the thing I like: a small, intimate piece. Admittedly, it's the smallest cast that I've ever seen: just two people, however Benjamin Vivian and Kate Brennan were utterly compelling and really made me care about the characters. It was wonderful to see, and indeed to remember, that there are two sides to the story in every relationship.

So, that was my Edinburgh round-up. I definitely want to go again, and see many more different things. I foudn Edinburgh to be a unique place, where almost anything goes. Provided things are quality, no matter how different the ideas behind it seem it will probably find an audience in Edinburgh.

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