Carousel

All posts tagged Carousel

Those of you who do Facebook might be aware that after the press night of Carousel, I decided to do a spontaneous Facebook live video to tell you all about it.  It went well and you all seemed to like it and so I wanted to share it with those of my readers who don’t do Facebook:

Bear in mind that this was a live video so I was able to respond to viewers as the comments were coming in – and if you like comedy cats as well as Alfie Boe, this might well be the video for you!  Click here for the written review of Carousel.

This is my first foray into the world of vlogging and I’d love your feedback – leave me a comment with your thoughts and I’d also love to know if there’s any other vloggers that you watch.

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If you celebrate Easter as a religious festival or just enjoy eating chocolate eggs, this time of year is a happy one.  Alfie is of course in London at the moment, appearing in Carousel – making this a very time of year for those of use lucky enough to see his wonderful performance.

As most fans will be aware, Alfie is from a strong Christian background and has often spoken of his faith and what it means to him.  He has also released a CD, Onward, which showcases Alfie singing hymns and spiritual songs.  One such, is A Living Prayer, three times voted into the top ten of Alfie Boe’s Best Ever Song:

This is taken from one of Alfie’s appearances on Songs of Praise, along with Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring:

Onward is available here:

Have a very happy and Blessed Easter

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I’ve got a confession – I have never before last night seen either the film or a production of Carousel, although I had a fair idea of the synopsis and some of the staging in the current production at ENO, not to mention most of the songs. This lack of prior knowledge meant that I came to Carousel almost entirely free of preconceptions about the show.  Having said that, prior knowledge would have prepared me for the huge amount of dialogue in the show – modern musicals tend to have very little spoken word in them and I’d forgotten that older shows don’t just rely on the music to carry the show.  Indeed, it is the dialogue that is integral to the storyline here.

The role of Billy Bigelow is Alfie Boe’s third musical theatre role in short succession (but his first in a newly opened show, albeit in a short, five week run) and his first appearance at ENO for over six years.  Alfie is on stage for most of the show and copes effortlessly with the physicality of the role, particularly in the soliloquy, which involves singing whilst using the whole of the stage, ladders included.  As you might expect, Alfie’s glorious tenor voice is a delight; soaring vocals when necessary, tender and soft when the music requires, yet blending in perfectly on the ensemble numbers.  Alfie has recorded If I Loved You and if I’m honest, I’ve never really liked his version because I felt that despite the beautiful vocals, there was no emotion behind the words.  It is a totally different experience to hear Alfie sing the song in this production – the emotion, especially in the second act reprise, bursts out.  You are left in no doubt as to how Billy feels and that is down to the acting.

As mentioned earlier, Carousel is Alfie’s third musical theatre show in a short time but since both of those were on Broadway, this was my first opportunity to see Alfie in an acting role on stage.  I wasn’t disappointed.  The vocal demands are all in the first act and I felt Alfie relaxed into the role more as the show went on.  However, the characterisation of Billy was always totally believable and although there were moments when Alfie seemed almost awkward, I felt that was part of the character; Billy, as we understand from the opening dream sequence, is an awkward character who has not had the easiest start in life and it would be wrong, in my view, to have him portrayed as someone who is happy in own skin.  Anger is an emotion that is never far from Billy, always bubbling under the surface and Alfie plays this to perfection – he’s on a knife edge the whole time which lends an air of unpredictability that is central to both the character and the storyline.

Billy’s relationship with Julie Jordan is the the plot driver in Carousel and the role of Julie carries high expectations.  Katherine Jenkins makes her stage debut here and honestly, you wouldn’t know it. At no time did I feel I was watching an actress who had never performed in a stage musical before. In Katherine’s hands you felt that there was no other way for Julie to behave – of course she would run off with an unemployed carousel barker and inexorably start down the road of unhappiness.   The difficult relationship between the two lead roles is fully explored, with Billy going from the confident barker to an angry husband who resorts to domestic violence and Julie doing her best to save and reform him.  The violence is not shown on stage but much more powerfully, it is the constant belittling of Julie by Billy that remains with the audience and you understand just what compels women in Julie’s position to stay in such relationships.  Integral to this sensitive portrayal was the cracking chemistry between Alfie and Katherine which made the relationship believable.  Both were outstanding.

In addition, the whole cast and ENO chorus were sublime, with Alex Young as Carrie and Brenda Edwards as Nettie being in especially fine form.  Nicholas Lyndhurst’s role is tiny but pivotal to the plot and he displays his mastery of comic timing (Alfie also uses his natural gift for comic timing throughout) to devastating effect.  However, the laughter that greeted Lyndhurst perched on a ladder has possibly nothing to do with Carousel and everything to do with his previous incarnation as Rodney.  Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote some wonderful tunes for this show and the ENO orchestra make the most of them, beautifully conducted by David Charles Abell (yes from the 25th Les Mis concert).

Carousel is a show that I think will stay with me for a long time and not just because Alfie Boe stars.  Both he and Katherine Jenkins were outstanding but it is the overall story of redemption that sticks with you.   Does redemption mean that our earlier deeds are forgiven?  Perhaps yes, but not forgotten.  During the finale, having achieved his aim, there is nothing left for Billy but to disappear from the scene and it is entirely fitting that we are left with the happy ensemble.

Carousel is on at the London Coliseum until May 13 – tickets are available here and I urge you to go – you won’t regret it.

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Last week I asked you a few questions about Alfie Boe in 2016 – how did you get on?  Remember, you’re playing for pride, not prizes!

Q:  With which product did Alfie make his TV commercial debut in 2016?

A: Fisherman’s Friend – the ad is now playing again on UK TV.

Q: At which football team’s ground did Alfie sing the National Anthem in 2016?

A: His home town of Fleetwood.

Q: How many dates were there on the 2016 Together tour?

A: 29 – Blackpool was the 29th, added during the first Blackpool date.

Q: Name Alfie’s three opera heroes from the Spring radio 2 show.

A: Enrico Caruso, Maria Callas and Mario Lanza.

Q: What was special about 12th November 2016?

A: Alfie was in two places at once – or, to be accurate, he was on TV at the Festival of Remembrance, recorded earlier that evening, and live at the London Palladium.

Q: Which actress and singer featured as a guest artist on Ball and Boe: One Night Only?

A: Maria Friedman, singing a brilliant Being Alive / Chitty Chitty Bang Bang mash up.

Q: Alfie will play which role in Carousel in 2017?

A: Billy Bigelow.

Q: Katherine Jenkins will play Julie Jordan; where will she sing with Alfie before that?

A: Dubai at the White Nights festival.

Q: Which song was voted the fans favourite in 2016?

A: Love Reign O’er Me:

Q: Which two songs featured in Alfie’s solo section of the Together tour?

A: Keep Me In Your Heart and Love Reign O’er Me (no prizes for guessing why I chose this video!):

Thanks to Linda W for sharing.

How did you all get on? Ten out of ten for everyone, right?

thanks for reading and sharing

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plus 4 exclusive photos

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Apparently today is Blue Monday or the most depressing day of the year so in case you’re feeling in need of cheering up, here’s the thoughtsofjustafan 2017 quiz of everything Alfie Boe!

As with previous quizzes, there are no prizes but plenty of pride to be played for – how many will you get right?  Answers will be posted next week.

Good luck…and no cheating!

  1. With which product did Alfie make his TV commercial debut in 2016?
  2. At which football team’s ground did Alfie sing the National Anthem in 2016?
  3. How many dates were there on the 2016 Together tour?
  4. Name Alfie’s three opera heroes from the Spring radio 2 show.
  5. What was special about 12th November 2016?
  6. Which actress and singer featured as a guest artist on Ball and Boe: One Night Only?
  7. Alfie will play which role in Carousel in 2017?
  8. Katherine Jenkins will play Julie Jordan; where will she sing with Alfie before that?
  9. Which song was voted the fans favourite in 2016?
  10. Which two songs featured in Alfie’s solo section of the Together tour?

Have you seen the Together tour YouTube playlist* yet?

*the first video may not play in all countries.

Check out the updated Alfie Boe gallery too – click here.

thanks for reading and sharing

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plus 4 exclusive photos

xx