Saturday, 16 July 2016

Guys and Dolls- Bristol Hippodrome

Wow. This was quite literally one of the most incredible musicals I've ever seen, and I'm not really sure how to put it into words. A couple of weeks before going to watch the performance I happened to be in town, and saw a poster for Guys and Dolls, and I remember wondering how good it was actually going to be. Turns out, it was completely mind-blowing. As the first song ended and clapping broke out across the audience, I lent across to my mum, smiling from ear to ear and whispered, 'I'm going to like this.' I did, and my smile lasted all night through. I'd go and watch this production again in a heartbeat. I loved the songs, the energy, the story-line, the cast. Everything about this made me want to scream, and shout, and tell everyone all about it.

The cast were what was truly inspiring about this performance of Guys and Dolls. Yes, I loved the plot but it was the cast that really brought this show alive with their amazing vocals, acting and dancing skills. I hadn't heard of Richard Fleeshman and Maxwell Caulfield before, but I will certainly be looking out for them in the future.

I'm going to be completely honest and say I don't often focus much on lighting in a performance. I much prefer to watch the cast and plot develop but Guys and Dolls was an exception. The lighting was so spectacular that you couldn't help but notice it. In particular there was a gambling scene in which lighting was used to give an impression of throwing dice, rather than actually physically doing so. The songs also added marvelously to the atmosphere, and I have added many of them to my 'favourite songs' list. 'Sit down, You're rockin the boat,' 'Develop a cold' and 'Guys and Dolls' are three I can think of straight off the top of my head, but the more I consider it the more I realise how much each of the songs deserve the title 'best.' All of them set my feet taping, and my smile steadily growing.

At the end the whole cast joined in a super cool tambourine dance which I really want to learn! I feel like I need to find a tutorial of it somewhere, although I'm not quite sure where that would be. This summed up the whole performance for me, it may sound cheesy but I totally love singing, dancing musicals complete with happy endings, and Guys and Dolls is exactly that. The whole audience were on their feet by the end, and I'm pretty sure all of us left with a smile on our faces.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Taming of the Shrew- Ballet

I would never say that I am a great judge of ballet; in fact, the only ballet performances I have seen are; Alice in Wonderland when I was 8, and Taming of the Shrew, which I watched yesterday in the Bristol Hippodrome. But without a doubt, this was fantastic. I don't necessarily mean in a jump up and down, desperate to go again sort of a way, but a 'wow they were amazing' sort of a way. I don't know if I would personally choose to go again, and yet I would advise anyone with a love of Shakespeare or ballet to go.

The mime and facial expressions are what truly blew me away. How a story could be told without any words or any explanation other than the movement of their bodies, completely inspired me. Each step, or leap told a story, it portrayed whether the character was; happy, sad, in love, angry, scared or confused. The words of Shakespeare were wonderfully woven together and brought alive with the phenomenal dancing portrayed by the ballet company.

Humor is a huge theme within Taming of the Shrew and the ballet really drew on this. I myself laughed out-loud multiple times, snorting in a totally undignified manor as Kate fell off her horse once again, or as Bianca's suitors battled. In particular, Iain Mackay, used his incredible dancing abilities to leap between humor, love, and anger, owning the stage in a way that made him stand out from everyone else.

All in all, Wednesday evening was thoroughly enjoyable and I would definitely go and watch another Birmingham Royal Ballet production.