I totally agree, “the rhythm IS gonna get you” during ON YOUR FEET!, the wonderfully exuberant bio-sical about Emilio and Gloria Estefan’s music and romance. The songs are infectious, the performances are dynamic (including every member of the chorus), and the choreography is the whipped cream on top of the sundae. This is the crowd-pleasing kind of show you can recommend to a friend and know they will be entertained.
The book by Alexander Dinelaris of the movie BIRDMAN (OR…you know the rest) and the Off-Broadway musical ZANNA DON’T!, doesn’t fall into such an easy definition. There are moments where the audience cheers, there are moments when the audience laughs and claps, there are also many clichés and over-simplifications. But any book of a raucous musical that can pull off a bus crash and dream dance without a titter in the house can’t be dismissed easily. It certainly doesn’t stop anyone from leaping to their feet and dancing thru the curtain call.
DADDY LONG LEGS is a two person, chamber musical based on a 1912 novel of written correspondence, utilizing a three-piece band consisting of keyboard, guitar and cello. If you haven’t already run screaming from the room, then this charming jewel box of a musical is for you. Written and directed by the inimitable John Caird with music by Paul Gordon (the team behind JANE EYRE), the show has little relation to the Leslie Caron/Fred Astaire movie and there is no dancing at all, what it does have is beautiful singing, a talented cast, lovely costumes and some insightful writing with a predictable romantic ending. In the tiny Davenport Theatre, every seat is excellent. This is a refined evening of entertainment, but not everyone’s cup of sweet jasmine tea.
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I think Benedict Cumberbatch is a very talented actor and in SHERLOCK and THE IMITATION GAME he gave very compelling, textured portrayals. Unfortunately, in the Barbican HAMLET his performance is broad with few layers. When you are playing one of the most complex roles in history, you hope for depth. I’m afraid there’s not much here.
Lyndsey Turner’s direction is acceptable, a little showy and she has rearranged the script to suit her needs, but serviceable. The rest of the cast is fine, except Ciaran Hinds who shows us what is missing from the lead. Perhaps with a different director, Mr. Cumberbatch could have soared.
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