On our recent visit to NYC we saw the following shows:
It was a very good show in many ways, but had a few faults that kept it from being GREAT show.
First the pluses
Now the minuses
All in all, though, it is a worthy effort.
ONE MAN TWO GUV'NRS
Music was cleverly worked into the show. Before it began, the skiffle band did a set, after which they went into the pit to provide music at various points in the story.
In addition, various cast members would join members of the band stage front for musical interludes, playing xylophone, tuned bulb horns, and in one number the young lover took off his shirt and rhythmically slapped his chest along with the music!
The jokes were clever, the music was charming, the acting first rate!! A great show, well worth seeing.
The Puppetry was something to behold. The horses were alive to us. The cast was very good as well. A terrific show.
Besides the amazing puppetry (horses, a goose, vultures and small birds) the set was a integral part of the show.
A "cloud-shaped" strip across the stage above the action was used for projections. The actors held various objects like poles and other things which were used in the same manner as puppets. Other stage props were used similarly.
The music was a mixture of live and recorded sounds. There were singers, folk instrumentalists (violin, accordion, military small band) worked into and commenting on the story. The recorded music was a mixture of instrumental (orchestral) electronic (synthesized) and sound effects.
The sound design was one of the best I have ever experienced.
The play points out the dreadful horrors of war without having to dwell on grisly details in a very powerful way.
Highly recommend !!
PORGY AND BESS
Everything was wrong.
This is an opera, and trying to make it into a musical is a mistake.
The singers should NOT be miked for this kind of singing. The singing was extremely distorted and painful both physically and artistically. In addition, the reduced size of the orchestra, combined with inept placement of mikes added to our disappointment.
Operas are conceived with elements and values that are different than those of Broadway Musicals. Each has it's artistic values. This production fails to succeed in either field.
On further reflection, another fault (in my opinion), was that the presentation of unpleasant factors of the story were overly emphasized:
Opera is about singing and orchestrations, in my opinion, and the story is not the controlling factor, no matter how compelling it may be.
Broadway Musicals are, in many ways, about a story -- with musical numbers that sometimes advance the plot, and other times suspend the action for a musical interlude. (This describes One Man 2 Guv'nors in a nutshell!) So if thay wanted to "re-image" this Opera for the Broadway Theater, they should have eliminated all recitative, music under dialog, etc... and made new arrangements for the band in the style of the period that the show takes place in.The songs stand on their own, and this would have made the show more appealing.
Of course, the distorted "Sound Design" would cripple any presentation of this work.