Monday, August 5, 2013

REVIEW: Follies by The Hong Kong Singers

It has come to a point that my review of the shows I have seen are so way overdue that I have no way of fully recovering from it. So here it is, I will just do a quick and more mini than mini review…

Hong Kong Repertory Theatre Black Box, Saturday June 29

I really don't have a lot of good things to say about this production, except that the performers did their darn best for it. Unfortunately, their best were just not good enough to offset the directorial blunders bountifully sprinkled all over the production.

Follies is a difficult musical. It was very brave for The Hong Kong Singers to tackle it, but extremely sad for them to fail so miserably especially when they were doing wonderfully with their last few shows. In the performance I attended, there was a strong likelihood that there were more performers than the audience.

At this point, I have to put forward that I am a HUGE fan of Stephen Sondheim and I am very familiar with this musical. In fact, I think I have all the recordings of it thus I am very critical about people messing with it. Director Clare Stearns is clearly a Sondheim fan. I have seen her Company and A Little Night Music before; and seriously, who in their right mind will want to take on Follies unless one is a fan of Sondheim? Unfortunately, being a fan of Sondheim just doesn't cut it especially with the limitation of resources be it talent, time and/or money. A good example of what this production is based on was immediately revealed on the opening number Beautiful Girls. It was sang "mostly"by the Music Director, Forrest Morr, EXCEPT when it came to hitting the crucial and culminating high notes at the end of the song, somebody else did it for him. WHY? Why cast somebody who can't sing the song completely and properly? Why cheat? The rest of the show was pretty much in the same scale. 

The performers were not too bad except three that I think did a fantastic job of filling the role perfectly: Andy Fullard (Young Ben), Louise Gray (Sandra Crane) and Micha Sparrow (Carlotta Campion).

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