Review: The Light Princess: a musical production.

So recently the soundtrack to Tori Amos’ musical theatre production The Light Princess has been released onto Amazon and Itunes. Haven’t heard of it? Not surprised really; the show was open at the National Theatre in London in mid to late 2013; to which it later fell of the radar meaning that the show is no longer on at the theatre. Which given the quality of the show itself; that’s absolute shame. Mainly because it’s definitely a theatre experience worth going to; so I hope a DVD recording of the show comes out, because I’d by that on Blu-ray no questions asked.

I saw the show as part of a course for my high school musical theatre class; in which we had to learn about the style of theatre used in the production; along with writing a review of it. Despite me now being out of high school and in college; i still have the report. So i found it ,recited it and it’s right here for you to read to explain why you should buy this soundtrack; you won’t regret it. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Light-Princess-Original-Cast-Recording/dp/B0131W0S4Q/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=univemuisc-central-21&linkCode=as2&ascsubtag=TORIAMOSTheLightPrincessUmSu

No I’m not being sponsored by Amazon; shut up. Here’s my review. Enjoy.

The story of the musical can be described as a dark fairy tale version of Romeo and Juliet.  In which there are two kingdoms that hate each other, in this case the kingdoms are The Kingdom of the Sea (the antagonist) and The Kingdom of the Desert (the kingdom of the protagonist).  The plot centers on a young princess named Althea, a princess with out gravity and spends the majority of the story floating around the stage on wires and stage hands moving her around. Anyway to make a long story short after escaping from her dad who is fed up with her less than serious attitude and her ability to float and unwilling to become queen of the land. Althea and prince Digby of the rival kingdom meet up and fall in love with each other and the two kingdoms start to break out into war. Instead of the death of a family member; it’s rivalry over the land in general.

The first positive thing that can be said about the Light Princess is the staging and the special effects that are used. The effects that used on stage are absolutely fantastic and highly creative. This can be seen in scenes when Althea is floating, the show use wires for most of her scenes, but when there is also use physical theatre, in which three stage members are pulling her down to the ground, climbing on the set with the actress attached to their bodies or balancing the actress on their feet to make it look like she is really floating of the ground. Yes all three of them balance a five foot woman on their feet; that is determination for their craft. All of this created a fantastic effect as if the actress was really floating up and down on stage, showing of the sense of wonder the shows trying to give the audience.

Also the rest of the effects, scenery and costumes are done very well. The locations were very bright, large and colorful; each location had its own unique look and feel; like the sea kingdom in a blue military style look and the dessert kingdom characters were looking like something from Aladdin; especially Althea’s father. This as a result made each location every remember able and different from each other. All of the costumes had their own styles and were every colorful and well designed.

The cast members operating the effects were also working with puppets. Such as birds, the falcon and even creatures of the forest, all the puppetry was done excellently as well-looking like the animals there meant to look like, while giving out emotions and interacting with the events on stage.
In terms of the musical sides of things, it is absolutely amazing. With the high light being the actress who plays Althea (Rosalie Craig) . Who gives of loads of emotion in her voice and has a lot of range in her performance, which gave out a lot of weight and power during her solo numbers. Also the actor plays Digby does a very good job as well. When the two perform duets together, the singing is still fantastically done and the two actors work brilliantly of each other as performers. Althea being stubborn while Digby is more straight-faced; which leads to very well done banter between the two; their first meeting (the song “Althea”) being an example. Along with a very well done musical score, which brought out the tone and emotions of the scenes, and helped gave the songs more impact.

However what really hurts the show as a whole is the story. A side from the floating parts of the story which cleverly used the effects as part of the story. As i mentioned the story is a mix of Romeo and Juliet, Beauty and the Beast and Gravity as done by the team behind Once Upon a Time. It has the same plot structure of Romeo and Juliet where: the prince and princess of rival kingdoms fall in love, the two kingdoms find out, the two get separated and then back together by the end; Spoiler warning but the show even features a similar ending, that is just like the Shakespeare play. Not only that but a lot of the plot points were really predictable such as: the two get back together after being separated, the father and daughter bounding together and the ending itself once all the plot points are resolved, if you’ve seen the show you’ll properly agree.

But however in the end; the characters were very like able and had some interesting story arch’s which made us want to continue watching and route for them. In short the story isn’t really original, but it does make up with good characters we grown to like as the story goes on performed by talented actors.  With fantastic stage work and special effects which makes the show look gorgeous to watch.

Thank you for your time.

Review: Sam Smith’s Writing’s On The Wall (Spectre theme)

For a while now, the new James Bond film Spectre has been advertising itself with trailers and multiple set photos released onto the internet. But also today the official theme song that will be playing over the opening title sequence (the standard of 007 movies) of the film. As a fan of the Bond series i feel like i should make some comment over the recent news about the new theme; this blog does say that i would talk about movies in the description.

I could talk about the meaning of Spectre itself, but there are already videos on Youtube and stuff over the internet explaining this, and their connection to the new Daniel Craig 007 series (Casino Royale,Quantum of Solace and Skyfall for those not in the know) So for the sake those not that far in the know about Bond; i’ll leave a link to Bandit Incorporated’s video on the topic.

 In the meantime i shall discuss my feelings to the new theme song released today. Sam Smith’s Writing’s On The Wall…if you haven’t read the title of this post. For those who don’t know; Sam Smith is a British soul and pop singer; who first gained attention with the release of the song Latch in 2012 which he did along side with the band called Disclosure.  After that his gained major popularity with a solo carrier producing songs such as: Money One My Mind, Stay With Me; which in turn led him to win four awards at the 2015 Grammy music awards. So before we start, what do i feel about Sam Smith? His OK. Admittedly the man has talent and is a well skilled singer and pianist. But i just never really got into him; with some exceptions. I felt his’ mostly just stuck to emotional piano ballets for a large portion of his musical career; again his good at it; but i fell he could try something other than the slow style he always seems to do. If you like him, good for you don’t let me turn you away from what you like; he’s just not my cup of tea.

Which brings us on to Writing’s On The Wall. Now i have to confess on how i was skeptical about the choice of Smith to do the theme song; but hey multiple Bond themes have been ballets and and less energetic tunes. Said songs including ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ and Adele’s ‘Skyfall’. So is this song any good for a James Bond movie? Kind of. It’s decent..i guess.

Yeah that seems to be the general reaction this song has got on the internet. Channel 5 news went to the Bond in Motion exhibit in London (a exhibit i highly recommend going to by the way) where they played to the track to people who went there; in order to film their reactions. And the majority of people said it was ‘alright’. Not exactly a great sign there. Honestly for a Bond theme i find this one kind of dull. As i said about Sam;  his vocals are well performed, while the music and the melody are lacking.

The most i can really call this song, is Skyfall 2.0. Mainly due to how their both vocal based ballets. So we now have the theme to Skyfall with a male singing this time. While the music behind that tune was decent; this track is rather dull and almost lifeless even by Sam’s standards. The beat mostly goes through with a simple piano chords and a short melody, with changes in their chord and rhythm patterns; and even then it still goes at the same pace, with the verses being unmemorable to listen. With the exception of the intro and the second half of the chorus, the whole song sounds the same. The whole thing separating the chorus from everything else is the change of pacing and the volume and Sam’s voice.

His vocals being the saving point of this whole track, but not by much. The song itself is really bland and is flat out boring. This is the theme to a action movie; no one should’ve fallen asleep by the first ten minutes. While Sam in tune, and does show concomitant vocals skills; given the note and volume changes in the chorus, it’s less of a emotionally high point and more of a a tempt to wake the listener up.

Overall while i am still excited to see Spectre when it’s released in cinemas, i can’t say i will be too pumped to continue on wards when this is the pay of after the first action scene (With the exception of Dr No it’s usually the first scene, then the opening credits). I wanted to give Sam a chance despite what i said about him early, i wanted to say: “yes this is really damn good, and i think this guy’s on to something here”. And while i’m still all for you disagreeing with me on the quality of his work; but for me instead of challenging my thoughts on the guy, his now given me a key example of what i said about him several paragraphs ago.

If you’d like to listen to his track, it can be found on Spotify and on Youtube; as all ways thank you for reading.