First Preview Power Strikes Again!
It's late and the RZ is a very tired blogger who has just sat through a particularly long and muddled musical. Some proper prose (including a worth paying) may be forthcoming, but here are some basics based on the notably unfinished show that the RZ saw tonight:
-The current runtime is 4 hours 6 minutes including interval.
-The RZ managed to hold out until 11PM before turning his phone on to check the time. He was not the only one doing so.
-There will (thankfully) be cuts.
-The cast, including Darius Danesh, are fine. Not amazing, but fine.
-Some of the accents, however, are like what real cockneys think of Dick Van Dyke
-The score is boring. Most of it is slow and attempts to be sweeping, but the RZ guesses that there isn't enough of an orchestra to pull off a properly lush sound. None of the songs stood out, but some reminded him of better songs from better shows.
-There are some laughably bad lyrics like "Wounded soldiers are physical wrecks, but at least they're members of the opposite sex".
-There is a LOT of narration. Everybody takes turns spewing dates and season changes and announcing the locations and how this or that character is feeling or what they're thinking.
-If the RZ was handling the edits, the narration is the first thing he'd cut.
-The author really tried to incorporate everything from the book. Something has to go because everything drags.
-Even though the first act is the shorter one, the RZ suggests summoning Officer Lockstock to enforce the rules on too much exposition.
-The second act is preachy. One song is the black cast singing "Every child just wants to be loved."
-The song about Haliburton...er...Reconstruction is painfully bad.
-The set is impressive when you enter, but pretty minimal by Napier's standards. There's a revolve for "interiors/house" and some platforms that are punted on and off stage. After a while the sets are as dull as the music. Is this really the same man who gave us the visual wonderments of Time, Starlight Express, and Cats? Or a reduxed rehash of Les Miz?
-The burning of Atlanta is a couple flashing lights and some fencing getting pushed over.
-The audience were racing like mad to catch their trains. Hopefully the cast made it home as well.
-The audience seemed to be OK with the show in general but almost everyone said it needed cuts.
-They hired child actors to appear in two scenes.
-Bonnie is a voiceover and has the lamest "death by horse" ever onstage. Aren't the crew from Handspring done with their run at the National yet?
-The act break is roughly in the middle of part 3 from the original novel.
-Mark Shenton was in the row behind the RZ, and the critic from the Daily Mail was also present.
-Did the RZ mention that it was four hours long?
In short: Unless you're a huge GWTW buff or a nerd for going during previews, wait until the press reviews are out because the edits could make everything more cohesive and add some much needed energy.