Saturday, 21 February 2009

Capital Interlude

Back from a couple of days in London, highlights of which were the "Byzantium" exhibition at the Royal Academy and "Les Miserables" - my first ever trip to a West End musical. While the former lived up to my expectations the latter exceeded them and provided food for thought.

It was a powerful production and well-paced for the age of film and video with an intensively choreographed use of the revolving stage which allowed scenes to flow seamlessly one into another - a kind of stage counterpart to the cinematic techniques of inter-cut different camera angles. Both the music, which was satisfyingly textured and varied, and the libretto were free of the cliches normally associated with the musical theatre genre. The set was a wonder to behold as it underwent a series of origami-like transformations and permutations.
Aware that Hugo's work had been on the Index I was on the look-out for "angles" but the clear injustice of jean Valjean's opening predicament in post Napoleonic France had a certain plausibility about it especially as I saw parallels with -surprise, surprise - post Reformation England.

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