Friday, 27 March 2009

CATCHING UP: Spring Awakening (v2: Novello Boogaloo)

(Last week was another no theatre week, but this week I wound up at three shows. One, Cooking with Elvis, won't be getting covered here due to personal familiarity with the producers, but I'd recommend it regardless. It's a bizarre play but an interesting one. The other show that I'll cover here in some detail is Priscilla which I reviewed for a magazine'll see.)

So in exchange for sitting in the onstage seats last Friday while the cast ran most of the second act’s technical rehearsal I got free tickets to see the transfer of Spring Awakening at the Novello. This marks my third time seeing the London cast, so I’ll keep this brief because the core elements have already been discussed at length.

-The set is narrower at the Novello than at the Lyric, and the band are now partly hidden behind the onstage seats.

-The acoustics are bassier now, and have a good boom to them.

-Did you know that instead of regular stage numbering they use the show’s German title (Frühlingserwachen) to mark places?

-Sight lines are excellent, even from the rear stalls though I’d still avoid seats on the far sides.

-The night I went was filled with tech issues including a very loud and unhappy machine during the hayloft scene and an unscheduled bang in the graveyard.

-Despite this the cast pushed through, the one true sign of professionalism that night.

-Why’s that? Because except for the adults (who are constantly excellent), the acting quality has plummeted lately. While I’ll cut the cast some slack for being in a new venue and getting their changed blocking down, the book scenes were blown through, barely acted, and shrugged off. Likewise, a certain Welsh leading pair’s accents kept slipping.

-The sad thing is that Michael Mayer had flown up from getting the Vienna production through previews to supervise the transfer’s tech.

In short? Maybe go again in a month or two when things have settled down or aim for understudy days. This just nailed the burnout coffin into my Spring Awakening coffin, though, and short of going specifically with friends I believe I’ll be away from the Novello for a while.


makingplans4nigel said...

I thought it was a mistake to have members of the audience on stage at The Novello, they just looked terrified last night.

Rogue Zentradi said...

The audience are onstage in every production, going back to Off Broadway. The idea is that it's the eyes of the community cast over the actions onstage. Of course, it works differently when you have fans who buy the onstage seats over and over versus a largely uninformed populace who bought them because they were cheap. =)

DeNada said...

Were the accents better at the Lyric? Moritz was particularly bad the night I went, and I thought it was a strange decision to have them act in RP and then break into their natural accents for the songs - Moritz's lyrics were nearly incomprehensible, and I have Welsh relatives...

(it's been a bad week for accents - saw Saturday Night this evening and another show on Thursday I won't mention which seemed to have appalling American accents throughout.)

Rogue Zentradi said...

I think the accents have been getting worse over the run. First preview at the Lyric they didn't bother me (we also had an understudy Moritz then), but I also had to get used to hearing the songs done with British vowels. I'm also not a Henry Higgins and won't always catch it (unless someone fails at being American.)

They slipped a touch on my return but weren't too awful or annoying, but I know the show pretty well so it's not TOO hard for me to fill in the gaps mentally.

And I'm sorry to hear that Saturday Night's accents have gotten worse. When I went they were stereotypically broad in a gangster movie sort of way (which I suspect was the director's choice.)