It's been a few weeks since I last saw NDDP and it is interesting to see how the show is never the same. Can't say much about the new guys like Mike Dyer or Scott Ciscon 'cause I haven't seen them yet (wait for part 2) but even if you see the performers you have seen a few times before, you always see something different.
For example, the more I see Dean the more I like his Phoebus and I admit that I am a huge fan of Steve but this just wasn't the perfect part for him. His voice still is unbelievable, there is no doubt about that but Dean is so much more convincing as the tough soldier who kills Clopin and doesn't give a damm about Esmeralda in the end.
Who I really like more everytime I see him is Andrew Playfoot, no doubt that he is my favourite Clopin. Although there is one scene that I don't like at all but it is just that I don't like the song very much, and that is "Esmeralda, you see".
Fred and Ian, well, what more can I say than that they are the perfect match as Frollo and Quasimodo. Intense, moving, convincing, I wouldn't want to miss them in their parts.
Hazel is getting better every time and she for sure is the best actress out of the 3 Esmeradas I have seen. I would love to see Camilla, that's the only one who I did miss so far.
Can't say much about Fleur-de-Lys, only maybe that I prefer Camilla which doesn't mean that I don't like Kate.
Last but not least I still like Alexis better than John but to see if John has changed his performance like everybody tells me, I have to wait until Wednesday and see if he can convince me now.
Okay, back to Wednesday and Mike and Scott and John. Mike wasn´t that bad as I expected him to be after all what I have heard, I don´t give much about other people's judgement anyway, I have to see for myself. Anyway, his voice is okay, his acting isn´t bad but I am not sure what he sees in Frollo. I mean, is he supposed to be the bad guy who is keen on Esmeralda or is he desperate because he´s a priest. Know what I mean? He´s not as anxious as Daniel was and he is not like "I have to have her, no matter what" like Fred. During act 1 I thought he was a bit boring, no, correction, I found him a bit boring but he got better during act 2. So if I had to choose which Frollo I want to see, it´s Fred.
Scott, he was very very good. Wonderful voice with a slight American accent and his acting I´d say is kind of between Steve´s and Dean´s. So when it comes to my fave Phoebus, tough choice. I love Steve´s voice, I love Dean´s acting, so I think it was a good idea to cast Scott. I really can´t say who I prefer, I like them all very much.
John, well, he has changed his style of playing Gringoire a bit, but only a little. There are some parts I really like which is first of all, Free Today. Moon is quite good also. I still don´t like Cathedrals and I still hate Florence. I really can´t say more and it´s not easy to explain because it is just my opinion and no judgement. Some voices just do it for you, and others don´t. And he has a good voice, I loved him in Rent, but sometimes he, oh God, I don´t know how to say it without sounding like an idiot, he´s whining or sobbing which is fine if it was a love song, but it´s not! What in my opinion hasn´t changed a bit is this "look-at-me-I-am-the-most-important-person-on-stage" attitude which sometimes drives me nuts. And before all fans of John´s gonna kill me, I don´t say neither he is bad nor he can´t sing, I just say that his Gringoire doesn´t do much for me. I think it´s not the way it should be done (in my opinion). But I would never say I won´t see the show at all when he is scheduled. What I like about Alexis´way of playing are more the small bits and pieces, like for example when he bends down and touches Clopin and puts his jacket over him after Phoebus has killed him. So Gringoire is an easy choice for me: 1:0 Alexis!
Friday March 9th was the first time I had seen Dannii Minogue and I was very pleasantly surprised. She may not have the vocal power of the other Esmeraldas but her acting is far superior. She is full of life and emotion and acts like a 17 year old! Her version of "Live For The One I Love" was very touching. Scott Ciscon (also seen for the first time) was excellent. I preferred his performance to Dean Collinson's, and will try to see him in the future (Steve Balsamo will always be the best though). Rohan Reckord was good paricularly in "Cast Away", Joanne May was lovely although a little tired. John Partridge was fun but I prefer Alexis James, Ian Pirie was terrific as always and Fred Johanson was just outstanding. He must be the best Frollo, there should be a recording of him.
I've known "Notre-Dame de Paris" since the begining of this musical's great adventure in 1998.
I saw it for the first time in Geneva in French: that was wonderful (even I had quite bad seats and the original French cast wasn't there (as expected) except Daniel Lavoie)! Finally I wasn't desapointed at all because almost all the alternates were very good singers and actors.
When I heard that NDDP would be shown in London (= my fave city) and that Tina Arena (= my fave singer), I knew immediately that I "had" to go and see this spectacular musical! ;o)
I saw the English show on the 1st June 2000 for the first time; I'm was soooo excited! Every singers were the original ones... except Tina Arena!!! I was quite sad, but her alternate, Hazel Fernandes, was fabulous! So I was able to enjoy the show even without Tina Arena. Hazel's great. She can act, sing and dance very well and she has a very beautiful voice. I think if Tina Arena wasn't my favourite singer, I'd have loved Hazel's performance: but I "only" liked her very very much instead! :o) I discovered Steve Balsamo and the more the show was running then more I loved his voice. I really appreciated his voice, acting and charisma! What could I say about Daniel Lavoie, Bruno Pelletier, Garou and Luck Mervil? Well, that's quite easy: fabulous!!! I already knew them because of NDDP in French and what I saw that night confirmed was I had thought until then: they're simply the bests! ;o) I won't say very much about Natasha St-Pier, but she was great as the others.
I was informed that Tina Arena'd perform the next day; this was my second chance to see her! Bruno Pelletier, Garou, Daniel Lavoie, Kate Pinell, Dean Collinson and Carl Abraham Ellis were singing with Tina Arena that night.
Tina was really really great, as expected!!! But she's not an actor... On that point Hazel played better. But I think my favourite Esmeralda is still the French one, Hélène Ségara, and after her, Tina or Hazel.
The last time I saw the musical in London was in August. Tina Arena improved her performance a lot. I discovered Andrew Playfoot who's wonderful. There was also Garou, Bruno Pelletier, Daniel Lavoie, Steve Balsamo and Natasha St-Pier.
I went to see the London production of Notre Dame de Paris again last night (4th January 2001) and was yet again stunned!
The theatre was not very full, which was a shame, but the audience were quite responsive, which was good.
Alexis James was playing Gringoire, I’d never seen him before, but I was impressed. In my opinion, he’s not as convincing as Bruno and John, but each of their interpretations of the role are so different, it’s not really fair to compare them too much! As the play went, on I liked Alexis in the role more. ‘The Age of the Cathedrals’ was good and Alexis created a good opening atmosphere.
Andrew Playfoot played Clopin, I’d never seen him in the role before live, (only on the Royal Variety Performance, but that is not the same). I thought he was excellent and in my opinion, better than Carl Abraham Ellis, because he has a clearer voice, but as I said, that’s only my opinion. ‘The Refugees’ was wonderful and full of energy (as always); I really enjoyed Andrew’s interpretation of the song.
Frollo was played by Fred Johanson, which I was very happy about, because I’ve always loved him in the role and his voice is amazing!
Scott C. Ciscon played Phoebus, I’d never seen him before either, and I was a little wary about him before hand, as I have only ever seen Steve play Phoebus and was unsure whether anyone could compare with him! I was stunned. Scott was really convincing in the role and has a lovely voice to boot! I still think that Steve was a better Phoebus, and I have yet to see Dean in the role, but I was very, very, very impressed!
Patti Russo, whom I have seen a few times, played Esmeralda. I don’t think that I really need to say much about Patti, only that her performance was as good as ever and that I want her voice! ‘The Bohemienne Song’ was great.
I am not really a fan of the song ‘Esmeralda You See’, but I still enjoyed it, I think that it’s a demanding song and both Andrew and Patti made it seem easy!
Fleur-de-lys was played by Joanne May, who managed well. I don’t particularly like the role, and I am not sure about Joanne’s voice (she sounds very much like Kate Pinell), but what can I say? I’m not up on the stage singing, so she still gets my respect!
I’m now going to mention the dancer (which really should be at the top of my review). Every time I go and see the show, they totally stun me, and last night was no exception. Wow. They must have so much energy! Each time I see the show, I notice another amazing ‘trick’ that one of the dancers is doing. I’ll never get bored of watching them.
‘The Feast of Fools’ was fantastic. Alexis was great. The dancers were stunning and the atmosphere was electric!
Sam Gough played Quasimodo. Quasimodo is such a demanding role, and I was impressed with the way that Sam coped with it. His voice is lovely (I admit that I am a bit of a sucker for husky voices), but it’s not as strong as Garou’s and Ian Pirie’s (both of whom I liked better, but they’re extremely hard to beat!). I found it hard to hear some of the words, but to be honest I’m not sure whether that was Sam’s voice or the music, which did seem a little drowning. Sam was still very convincing and despite everything, I was impressed. I’m not sure what I expected from Sam, before the show I was not looking forward to seeing him, but when he started singing ‘The King of Fools’ I saw that I was mistaken. It was great.
I like the song ‘The Doors of Paris’, so I have to mention it! Alexis did it perfectly!
‘The Court of Miracles’ was wonderful. Andrew’s voice was very strong and clear and he acted well upon the girder. I couldn’t really hear Alexis during his first lines in the song, but again I think that it was the music drowning him out. The dancers were fantastic. I found myself smiling throughout the whole song.
‘Shining like the Sun’ is a favourite of mine, and it was performed brilliantly.
When Scott sang ‘Torn Apart’, I continued to be really impressed with his interpretation of the role. I’ve always thought that the song and especially the technical qualities, were original and effective and last nights performance had the same effect on me.
‘Belle’ was near perfect. I love the last verse, when they all sing. Each of the characters portrayed their meaning convincingly.
‘Home in the Sky’ was fine. Sam’s interpretation of Quasimodo is different to Garou’s and Ian’s. Sam’s Quasimodo seems a little more subdued and quiet, which I think works very well. I am just used to the other interpretation, of him being quite bold, yet shy (which doesn’t make any sense, but I know what I mean!). It took me a while to get used to Sam’s Quasimodo, but I think it worked. The differences between the different interpretations of Quasimodo were shown clearly in this song.
Fred’s Frollo is stunning. He has such a powerful voice and is a convincing actor. Fred has always been my favourite Frollo and he lived up to expectations last night. His voice and acting qualities are especially clear in ‘Your Love Will Kill Me’.
‘The Shadow’ is another song that I like a lot and Scott’s performance didn’t change my feelings.
‘At the Val D’amour’ was brilliant. Alexis and Scott performed it perfectly.
‘The Voluptuary’ is another of my favourites (I know I have a lot of them!) and still as good as ever.
Act 1 ended on a big high. ‘Destiny’ was powerful and memorable.
In the interval it was announced that Andrew Playfoot was ‘in dispense’ and that the understudy, Hugh Maynard, would play the role of Clopin. I’m not absolutely sure what happened to Andrew, but I read somewhere that it is because his wife went into labour and he rushed off to be with her.
The start of Act 2, was slightly disappointing, because the music was loud and it was hard to hear the singing, but as the song ‘Talk to me of Florence’ went on, the voices got clearer and louder and better.
‘The Bells’ continues to amaze me. The first couple of times I saw the show, I could not really enjoy the song, because I was worried about the people hanging upside down from the bells! The choreography of the song is stunning and overwhelming. Sam did very well in the song, as I think that the voice has to compete with the dancing/acrobatics, and last night there was a good balance.
‘Where is She?’ introduced Hugh Maynard to the audience. It was obvious that he was trying very hard to impress the audience, and he succeeded. He has a strong, clear voice and fulfilled the demands the role requires. His performance was best in ‘Cast Away’, which was also as good as ever.
Fred performed ‘I’m a Priest’ extremely well, with an amazing amount of passion and power.
‘Phoebus if you can hear’ is another favourite of mine. Patti was very moving and powerful and needs to be congratulated!
‘Frollo’s Visit to Esmeralda’ was stunning. Fred did the big “I looooovvvveeeeee” wonderfully! The following song, ‘One Bright Morning You Danced’ was just as good and powerful.
‘Free Today’ is a favourite of mine as well. There was tons of energy and passion in the song from everyone involved and it was very successful.
Alexis sang ‘Moon’ brilliantly. In my opinion I don’t think anyone can sing ‘Moon’ quite like Bruno can, but Alexis tried very hard!
When Sam sang ‘God You Made The World All Wrong’, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the auditorium! He was fantastic.
‘Live For the One I Love’ was great. Patti performs the song very well and last night was no exception!
‘Attack On Notre-Dame’ was fantastic. Each voice was clear and obvious and all the dancers involved were great!
Sam’s performance of ‘Dance My Esmeralda’ was wonderful. It was passionate and Sam obviously tried really hard to make an impact, which worked. Wow.
At the curtain call, everyone got a good response, especially Hugh Maynard, who got the biggest applause of the lot! Alexis tried to get Hugh up to do the encore with him, but Hugh refused, so Alexis went up alone.
All in all, I really enjoyed myself and I enjoyed seeing all of the performers and seeing their interpretations of the characters.
I don’t like criticising any of the performers, as they are all doing something that I can only dream about and I totally respect them. So I’m sorry to any of the performers I have offended or anything, I didn’t mean to, I think you’re great, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t keep going!
I saw Notre Dame for the first time on May 16th last year (2000) and thought that it was excellent!
I saw Bruno, Daniel, Tina, Garou, Kate, Luck and Dean.
I had never been to the theatre before and I was dreading going, it was a surprise but my mum slipped the secret on the way to the show!
We sat in the front row ‘B’ and I thought that it was going to be rubbish.
The overture began and then it stopped and I heard the most beautiful voice, and to my surprise a short man with long curly hair was singing and I thought that this was about as good as it was going to get but as the show went on I realize that it got better!
During the interval I was looking through the program and thought that the principal Phoebus didn’t look as good as Dean Collinson! The only thing that I thought was wrong with the show was that the music was too loud and the voices too quiet!
I saw it the second time in June or July because I had done well in some tests and I saw Bruno, Daniel, Tina, Ian, Kate, Luck and STEVE!
I sat in row ‘A’ seat 17, the show started, and I saw Bruno and he sang better that before, he seemed more confident. Then as Tina was singing Bohemienne, I saw STEVE and he was really nice then he sang that little bit ‘Beautiful why are you here is it from heaven you appear?’ And I fell in love with him!
I gave every singer a great big smile and I never got one back, I then realized that its because they aren’t allowed!
In the second half as Bruno came up the stairs I looked straight at him and he winked at me! When ever any singer sang a song it felt like they were singing it to me and I felt special! At the end my mum and me stood up and when Steve cam to the front to take a bow he smiled at me!
I went out side after and wished I had taken my camera because all the cast came out one by one and they seemed really nice after I got Bruno’s autograph I saw Kate run straight past me and she wouldn’t sign any autographs!
The last to come out were Steve and Tina who looked like they were going out somewhere so I didn’t talk to them for long and Tina had a really nice pashmina on and she was smiling at the few people who had waited for her to come out! I walked up to Steve and he gave me his autograph and smiled at me, as if he recognized me from and hour before in the front row! Then my mum embarrassed me completely and said, “By the way my daughter loves you!”
He laughed and patted me on the back and gave me a sweet smile where as I was nearly crying with embarrassment!
I went to see Tina’s last show and that was Fabulous! Just before the show started, we heard clomping footsteps and then a lady laughing and run across the stage in bare feet! Tina gave the best performance and sang brilliantly when she sang “Live”. At the end, everyone got emotional, Tina had a bit of a cry, and she went to the front of the stage where she collected flowers from some people. I walked to the front as she done that, before she got up to go and have her last bow, she smiled at me, and I smiled back. When the all came to the front I was standing in front of them and me and my friend gave Steve a smile and the he winked and smiled at me like he did the last time I had seen him!
We went to the stage door but a bodyguard said that the cast wasn’t coming out and that it was best that we left, when all of a sudden Carl Abraham Ellis came out and had a few photos and said goodbye to everyone as he was going on holiday to Cyprus!
Overall Notre Dame was the best show I have ever seen!
|Final Performance - 6th October 2001|
The final show was fantastic.The atmoshere was incredible, a great audience. As the music started there were screams and hooters, everyone was determined to have a good time. David Shannon was outstanding, as I have said before he is my favourite "Gringoire" since Bruno Pelletier. Rohan Reckord was as good as ever, "Cast Away" was excellent. Kate Pinell was lovely, Camilla Bard was at her most impressive in "Ave Maria" and the second act. Ian Pirie was quite simply superb, a very emotional performance. Nick Pound has a great voice and is the closest to my all time favourite, Fred Johanson. It was my first time of seeing Mark Smith and altough he is not as vocally strong as some of the other "Phoebus" his acting was excellent. The highlights for me were: David and Rohan joining in during "Belle" ,Rohan during "Cast Away", Camilla's acting after "Clopin's death", David's masterful rendition of "Moon", the fabulous dancing throughout by these supremly talented dancers, Ian during "God You Made The World All Wrong", the glitter dust from the dancers and Ian's sublime singing of "Dance My Esmeralda". Not forgetting how nice it was to see Mike Scott, Mark Powell, Steven Judkins and Michelle Connolly joining the rest of the cast for the extremely moving curtain call. I am so glad I was there for this momentous evening. It was nice to see so many fans at the stage door. I was lucky enough to meet all of the cast,who were all charming.
I am a great fan of musical theatre but I cannot forsee ever being so emotionally affected by a musical again. I wish all of the cast and all of you good luck for the future.
It was both an amazing night and a very sad night.
The Theatre was pretty full and the atmosphere was brilliant – every song ended with loud cheers and whistles.
Everyone was on top form and really gave it their all.
The show was pretty much the usual show, except for 2 amazing new bits:
In "Belle", just as in the earlier Matinee performance, the final verse was sung by the usual three, but Gringoire and Clopin joined in – all 5 sung in a semicircle at the front of the stage around Esme – simply electric! The other ‘new’ bit was in the final part of ‘Dance’ when all the floating Esme’s showered glitter into the air – a brilliant and moving effect to end the show.
Then in the finale, for the last verse of ‘Cathedrals’, all the alternates joined the cast on stage in full costume.
The final word goes to Camilla, who tonight performed the best version of ‘Live for the One’ that I have ever heard. She, like the rest of the cast, both old and current, have given us so much pleasure over the past 15 months, and really deserve our thanks and praise.
Òóò ìíå ñêàíäàëèñòû íå íóæíû. Òóò ñêàíäàëþ ÿ îäíà. (Ô.Ðàíåâñêàÿ "Ñåãîäíÿ - íîâûé àòòðàêöèîí")
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