Friday, October 2, 2009
The Scarlet Pimpernel-- A Multimedia Review
This was the absolutely beautifully brightly stress-free part of this last weekend-- seeing The Scarlet Pimpernel at Hale Centre Theatre!!
I LOVE LOVE LOVE the music-- I'm totally wearing out the cd. Or I would be, if I hadn't just ripped the whole thing to my computer. But still. Seriously, it wouldn't be at all shocking to me if my kids started singing about the guillotine around the house.
This was my chance to finally see it live.
If you live in Utah (well, northern at any rate) and haven't been to Hale Centre, you really really need to! They do a fabulous job.
The woman who played Marguerite was FANTASTIC! Though sadly it seemed like the leading men fell slightly short. Percy Blakeney was played by a great actor who clearly has a great voice, but his acting got in the way of his singing a bit, which just didn't work for me. The real sadness, however, was Chauvelin, whose singing just kind of... fell flat. Don't get me wrong, he had a fine voice... but the emotion and depth just wasn't there.
Chauvelin is evil, don't get me wrong. But there's such a richness, depth and passion to his character-- especially in the musical! He has some of the most passionate, gut-wrenching songs in the whole play! Now I'm not saying the guy was a bad actor, I just think he may have been miscast. Or I caught him on a really bad day. Heaven knows the pollen in the air is killing me. Maybe he has allergies.
Now in the movie, Chauvelin was played by Ian McKellan. Can't go wrong there, right? Though sadly it's not a musical. I love musicals. Raised on 'em. (Though my parents did get rid of Grease after my 7-ish year old sister was singing "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee" at the top of her lungs while riding her bike around the neighborhood.)
Anyway-- I did like Jane Seymour as Marguerite, though if I were trying to think of who to cast she wouldn't spring to mind. And I quite like Anthony Andrews as Blakeney.
It's interesting to compare the movie and the musical. In the musical, how and why and when Blakeney becomes the Scarlet Pimpernel is a little more clear than in the movie, while in the movie (I think it's in the movie... I guess it could have been the book) Marguerite running off to France makes more sense.
The movie and musical combine elements from more than one of Baroness Orczy's books. There's a whole slew of Pimpernel books. I've read at the very least... 2 of them. They start to run together, but I enjoyed them.
It's been a while, so I can't speak to how clean they are. I don't remember anything major. I wouldn't, however, recommend taking any child under 12 or even 14 to the play. (I was amazed at how many young kids were in the audience!)
All in all, I recommend the books, movie and play!
Really, I do. The music in the play is brilliant. There's more than one soundtrack option, and while the Original Broadway Cast Recording is my preferred listening option, you should really try the The Scarlet Pimpernel (1991 Concept Cast) (also sometimes called the Miami Cast, I believe) which has a couple of songs that didn't make it into the final production. "Now When the Rain Falls" is a personal favorite.
(This could be the longest review I've ever written.)