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Size Isn’t Everything

credit: Robert Day

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest theatrical venture, the transforming of the St James Theatre in Victoria into The Other Palace, this year opened its doors with the gin-soaked jazz age musical The Wild Party. It featured a cast of 15, cavorting around an exuberant three-storey set that also housed the eight-piece orchestra. It was, by any standards, a spectacular production. Yet for all the spectacle, glamour and glitter, it was one of the dullest shows of the year. With tunes that you forget even while you’re ...

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Riches to Rags: Two Takes on Opera in 2017

Credit: Robert Workman

In late November I saw the world premiere of the contemporary opera Marnie at the London Coliseum. In addition to the dozen or so principals, I counted a chorus of 37 who appeared variously as office workers, funeral mourners and party guests. Plus 10 dancers who doubled as scene shifters, and four additional Marnie alter egos. That made an on-stage cast of over 60; add in the orchestra, the lighting engineers and the rest of the backstage crew, and it meant that well over 100 ...

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