Saturday, 14 October 2017

REVIEW: Metropolis at Ye Olde Rose and Crown


Here, in my humble opinion are a list of subjects that shouldn’t be made into a musical:

The ‘successful’ reign of Hitler, The Trial of OJ Simpson and Metropolis, sadly the last one has been created. This musical adaptation by Joe Brooks and Dusty Hughes of the 1927 cult classic is the next show that the resident company of Ye Olde Rose and Crown Pub, All Star Productions have decided to tackle - the main question is, why? 

Metropolis’ story is about the massive class divide in the year 2026 where the elitist society live in leisure whilst machines facilitate their way of life and the poor, Workers run the machines. 

The set design looked as if a piece of Urinetown had been plucked from the revival at the St James Theatre (Now The Other Palace) and put into the small theatre space above the pub in Walthamstow. No microphones were being used, which was a bad idea. From my seat the sound balance was all over the place; the band were so loud it drowned out the voices of individual singers. In my opinion, at times it sounded as if performers had to shout to be heard. In ensemble numbers it really did feel as if the company weren’t listening to each other and the sound balance was off; a light microphone usage would have helped both audience and performer: the onset of vocal damage can already be heard - by the end of it I was exhausted from being shouted at for the hour and forty minutes. 

This pop/rock/miscellaneous genre opera is musically disjointed and a complete contrast to the silent original film. 

The saving grace came in the form of every one of those performers on that
stage. High energy, each dance move was accurate and well delivered in the small space. Rob Herron is great to watch on stage, he reminded me of a young Richard Fleeshman; charismatic and strong, yet delivering the vulnerability needed when falling in love so quickly - His character, Steven, fell in love after a fleeting glance with Maria, played by Miiya Alexandra who also fell in love with Steven. Love really did come out of no where and softened a storyline that would be more poignant without it. Miiya is a beautiful vocalist, strong and carries the show well for her debut professional performance. 

I was pleasantly surprised to see Freya Tilly. She commands attention whenever she is on the stage, a beautiful mover and singer. After seeing her in The Quentin Dentin show I am waiting for her to be awarded greatness for her hard work. 

This show isn’t a hit. It’s loud, musically a mess and I left with a headache. Metropolis Runs until the 5th of November.

Review by James-Lee Campbell

Rating: ★
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