Well am I down from Cloud Nine yet after seeing Carousel yesterday?
I thought I would do a review having never been to watch a show at the Coliseum before
I was in awe of its size it really is a beautiful place. I had been looking forward to this show for months. The show was marvellous the carousel waltz was fantastic to look at and I thought it was clever using a circular stage. The story is interesting as Julie and her friend Carrie are drawn into parallel love stories. Julie takes a risk to be with Billy by losing her job and her home. Billy takes a risk letting Julie into his heart. Its not oblivious but I think Billy and Mrs Mullens the Carousel owner may have had an affair or if not Mrs Mullens certainly wanted an affair. Billy follows his heart and marries Julie but darkness looms. I think it was clever placing the story in the nineteen thirties and forties rather than over 100 years ago where its normally set. This was a time just after the depression America was getting on its feet but for Billy he can’t find his footing. Alfie is a delight in the role he was less boorish than I thought he would play it. He was a less self assured Billy which contrasted both with the Self important Mr Snow and the Villon
Jigger Craigin. Nettie played by Brenda Edwards was lovely a wonderful voice. I loved Nicholas Lyndhurst as the stern but caring Starkeeper all the parts were beautifully played and the ballet between Billy and Julies daughter Louise and the young barker was wonderful. Last but not least I really took delight from Katherine Jenkins performance she took Julie from brave young girl to worried wife to loving mother in those three hours .The acting and singing from both leads was a delight. A Must See Show.
So Last night my daughter Debbie and I went to the Opera ,Ballet, and Musical Theatre all in one glorious show namely Carousel .From the moment the music started we were transported into a world colour and rousing music .Right from the off Alfie was there on the stage as Billie Biigelow, while the scudding clouds on the backdrop took us back in time .The whole stage was filled with the talented ensemble, and ENO Chorus as they played out the past years, back to the moment that Billie Bigelows bullying father hit him ,.The music changed and Alfie came forward on the Carousel riding a letter C, which turned and along with the other letters formed a circle, which spelt out the word Carousel.Billie then became the Barker of the ride encouraging people ,especially girls to get on the ride,, and that is when he met the pretty Julie Jordan( Katherine Jenkins)
.Having asked her to stay behind he meets up with her and they fall in love which leads into the song “If I loved You” which Julie sings first, (what a magical moment that was) and then Billie reprises it ,and that for me was the highlight of the show.
.Alfie’s voice filled the vast theatre, and if you hadn’t heard his voice before, this would be the moment you would fall in love with this incredible man’s obvious talent.
After marrying and losing his job .Billie falls into depression and following in his bullying fathers footsteps,he hits Julie in frustration and she turns to her friends for comfort.
Billie then gets drawn into crime to make some easy money, and when he is caught he can’t bear the thought of bringing shame on Julie ,especially as that night she had told him she was carrying his child
.In desperation Billie, thinking he has no future, and Julie and his child would be better of without him ,he plunges a knife into his heart and dies.Julie arrives just as he takes his last breath and she is heart broken..
Billie is transported to the back door of Heaven, where he meets The Star Keeper brilliantly portrayed by Nicholas Lyndhurst , who grants.Billie the chance to redeem himself and have one more day back on earth.Billie is shown his daughter Louise at different stages of her life and he goes back to earth and meets her and pretends that he knew her father and tells Louise what a lovely man he was and gives her a present of a Star that he stole from the Star Keeper.
Louise becomes frightened and trying to stop her running Billie slaps her.just thenJulie turns up and catches a glimpse of Billie, but he quickly asks the Star Keeper to make him invisible to Julie and she is puzzled.,but not for long,as when Louise tells her mother what happened and gives her the Star, and say’s” is it possible to be hit and it not to hurt “That’s when Julie realises that the man who gave Louise the Star was Billie and answers “,Yes it is possible” and smiles …
The last scene is at Louises graduation and Billie is there,but invisible to everyone and he encourages his daughter to hold her head high. The Chorus and Nettie (Brenda Fowler) reprise “You’ll Never Walk Alone” as Billie crosses the stage and kneels before his widow Julie and whispers “I love you” and you see Juliie has heard and she and her daughter embrace as Billie walks to the back of the stage and up in to heaven…
Having never been to an Opera, I was absolutely amazed when the ENO Chorus sang,It was probably the nearest sound to a Heavenly Chorus you would expect to hear if you were ever lucky enough to be allowed in to Heaven. As for Kathryn and Alfie, expectations were exceeded !
.So if you get the chance,do go I would definitely recommend Carousel as a wonderful night out for yourself and your soul!,
,A lovely lady from the US pointed out that I had forgotten to write about The Soliloquy.I’m mortified that I left it out as Alfie was amazing and held the audience enthralled as he sang movingly about “My Boy Bill”. Alone on the stage, which is vast,he used it to his advantage.I believe the tall square pillars with ladder like rungs at opposite sides of the stage were put there so that Alfie could scamper up and down them at will, which he did with tremendous agility, giving the performance a truly different perspective for the audience..We held our breath through the whole eight minutes,Sharing,Billie Bigelows joy, and then his realisation that” his Boy” ,may well turn out to be a Daughter.Alfie showed his emotion with great skill through his voice and his expression, and the audience exploded at it’s end with applause and cheers ….How I forgot to put this in my review I cannot understand…I just put it down to being so hyper after such an exciting long evening and getting on a bit !…I hope our US fan forgives me ,and Alfie too if he had read this before this edit (not that I think he does)..
.If you are going in the next couple of weeks I know you will not be disappointed…Wish I was going again !..x