Saturday, 29 July 2017

an american in paris

On Friday 28th July Bethan and I went to see An American In Paris at the Dominion Theatre. It was good in general, and the dancing and staging were excellent.

I got £22.50 tickets for it at the half-price booth in Leicester Square. I'm not sure I've been to the Dominion before, except for a Hillsong 'service' (I certainly preferred this). It's a very big theatre. I don't know what % they have to hit for good profitability, but there were seats at several prices in Tkts and several empty seats in the place on the night.

I haven't actually seen the film, I don't think, on which this modern musical is based. (It's one of those films you think surely you must have, but I'm pretty sure not, having seen this, which seems fairly faithful (though I'd be surprised if the film presents Henri, the French rival for Lise's love, as a repressed gay man; though one does sometimes get the impression that American men think all European men are essentially gay.)

It had a lot more dancing than we'd expected, but we were perfectly happy with that. It wasn't 'musical theatre' dancing, let us say, but modern ballet / contemporary dance, and it was very well done. I feel like we saw as much as if we'd gone to an evening billed as ballet/dance; again, fine by us.

We were in row VV - so, row 27, I think, if the first row was A. It had a good rake, and the seats in front of us were empty, so we got a good view of the whole spectacle, but I'd have been hard-pressed to pick out any of the cast members in a line-up after the performance. I could tell that Jane Asher was Jane Asher.

I didn't know Jane Asher was in it - or anything about the cast, in fact. The programmes were £8, so unusually I didn't buy one. Sometimes they have a small, cheaper programme and a bigger 'souvenir' programme, but not this time. I have been wondering about whether I should still get programmes (I have hundreds in the cupboards upstairs, and will never refer back to them, I'm sure, and it's not like they're accruing value), but even when they don't have interesting articles (which often they don't) I do like to see the cast information. But they did have the cast list up on a screen in the foyer, so I took a photo of that (I'm not sure they'd have had a printed cast list if I'd asked for one, as theatres sometimes do; I guess having it on a screen is cheaper, and easier to change when understudies are on, which is often the case in musicals). (And actually of course these days one can find out lots of information about a production online (here's the Wikipedia page, for example, not to mention all the reviews); the list of cast and creatives is the main lack. And I do like to try to see who I've seen in what before.)

The acting was okay, the singing was fine, the dancing was very good, the use of set and lighting in the staging was excellent. There was a lot of lighting and projection effect, but so well done that often they seemed to be part of the set, and they changed constantly (not 'back projection of an image of a Paris street for this scene' type of thing). It took me a while to realise that 'Jerry Mulligan' was also the lead male dancer in the big final sequence (the shirt he appeared in in the next scene seemed to be semitransparent with sweat, costume change or not, which was a clue), which made sense.

Another thing I'm going to start doing, I think, is putting in these posts about theatre productions the cast list, to make it more searchable for myself. Info below from my photo of the foyer screen.

Ashley Day (Jerry Mulligan), Leanne Cope (Lise Dassin - Wikipedia tells me that Leanne played the role in the 2015 Broadway revival, of which this is the transfer), David Seadon-Young (Adam Hochberg), Alyn Hawke (Henri Baurel - Twitter indicates that Alyn was the understudy, of which, of course, there was no indication in the performance), Zoe Rainey (Milo Davenport), Jane Asher (Madame Baurel), Julian Forsyth (Monsieur Baurel), Ashley Andrews (Mr Z), Julia J Nagle (Olga).

Ensemble: Ashley Andrews, Sophie Apollonia, James Barton, Sarah Bakker, James Butcher, Jonathan Cagiuoa, Katie Deacon, Rebecca Fennelly, Julian Forsyth, Sebastian Goffin, Nicky Henshall, Amy Hollins, Kristen McGarrity, Julia J Nagle, Daniela Norman, Pippa Raine, Aaron Smyth, Todd Talbot, Jack Wilcox.

And I can see from my Twitter list of stage Tweeters I've seen, which I started a couple of years ago, that I have indeed seen some of them before.

Another thing I'm going to start doing, I think, is posting photos of the programme (or flyer, if I don't buy a programme) and ticket (without showing barcode or any other booking info). We'll see how that goes.

Below is my first (I may retrofit some photos into older posts after this), and I will also post my photo of the cast list (which I might even manage to get to sit alongside it, such is my enormous digital expertise).