Carmen the Musical
Carmen the Musical is based on the 1875 opera by Georges Bizet. This new adaptation was first performed at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego June 20, 2007.
I’ve always wondered how companies choose what show they are going to do – is it demographic choice or is it based on the talent they know will audition, or if it’s just the latest and greatest show to hit the scenes. With this in mind, as I was going to Warragul to see a local production of a rarely produced show of a reworked opera, I thought they must have some amazing talent to do this show justice.
Kate Taylor,, as the sultry gypsy Carmen was fantastic. Her amazing looks and movements were supported by a very strong voice. Taylor was certainly the star of this production - from the moment she walked onto the stage until her ultimate demise, Taylor was a joy to watch and listen to.
Don Jose was played by Josiah Brooks who had a striking look for this role. Unfortunately, Brooks had a lot of pitching problems and needed more support in his top notes to soften the sound.
Escamillo the Toreador was played by Dom Ryan. Escamillo is a vocally demanding role, and while Ryan did his best with this role, he lacked the vocal support to give this character the light and shade required.
Helen Lowe as Mercedes and Rebecca Bickerton as Frasquita had pleasant voices, and their trio with Carmen was one of the show’s highlights. It would have been great for Bickerton to have a tambourine that actually worked in this number. I could have forgiven this if I’d heard a tambourine in the orchestra, but to not have the sound of a tambourine audible at all seemed like a basic oversight.
Brodie Dorling gave us a heartfelt interpretation of the love struck Micaela and her beautiful voice was a lovely to listen to. The children’s ensemble need to be congratulated for performing so well as each and every one of them was 100 per cent focused throughout.
Steve Howe, Tristan Vanya, Phil Coomes, Ryan McAllister, Michael Winterton and David Cafiso played towns folk, policemen and robbers with a lot a of energy.
Musical Director David Williams controlled a tight sounding orchestra and the ensemble work was very pleasing. I do have to ask though, who was playing when the entire orchestra came on stage for a bow at the end of the show??
The choreography by Emmalee Meisels was excellent and the sword fight had me on the edge of my seat. The production design by Carole Harvey was simple but effective. Costumes were great and Helen Lindton did an amazing job. Lighting design by Clive Sell was effective and keeping in time with the piece. Sound by Outlook Communications was excellent, well done Greg.
Michelle Carrigy was the Creative Director for Carmen the Musical. I felt the staging was very ‘old school’ and it made this production very laboured - everyone on for the ensemble numbers, then everyone off; everyone set into groups, face front and sing. A lot of character development would have given the cast the tools to tell the story dramatically as it should be told. This stunning piece is set in 1800’s Spain, yet everyone in the cast used very Australian accents, which took away from the drama within the piece. It would have been better to go with a mid pacific rounded non-descript accent to effect a neutral tone.
All in all, it was great to see a community theatre group giving their all for the love of treading the boards and I look forward to their next production.