Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sophisticated work brought to life with colour and charm

Georges Seurat's <i>A Sunday on La Grande Jatte</i>.

Georges Seurat's A Sunday on La Grande Jatte. Photo: The Art Institute of Chicago

Reviewer rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Art isn't easy, as the gallery crowd sings in Sunday in the Park with George. Just ask Stephen Sondheim, who had become so disillusioned at critical reception of his work by the early 1980s that he considered giving the game away altogether.

Fortunately he didn't, and this high-concept musical - inspired by the Georges Seurat painting A Sunday on La Grande Jatte - went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It's a challenging work, brought to life here with light and colour and charm (and, in the second act, 3D glasses).

It's obvious why Sondheim felt an affinity for Seurat: his painting - mocked at the time - is now regarded as a pioneering work of pointillism.

An otherwise conventional scene of Parisians promenading in their Sunday best, it mixes colours in the viewer's eye, not the canvas.


Sondheim and Lapine emulate that effect, theatrically.

The musical is possessed of an undulating and fragmented power. It ripples with leitmotifs, melodic disjunctions and harmonic resolutions, in a musically and lyrically sophisticated dramatisation of the creative act.

The leads are excellent.

Christina O'Neill is boundlessly charming as Seurat's mistress and muse Marie, stepping pertly out of the frame to confront and ultimately part with her distant and obsessive lover.

She isn't totally seamless, but acts as well as she sings, and in the time-warp of the second half, gives us an amusing caricature of a New York grandmother that reminded me of Sophia from The Golden Girls.

Alexander Lewis as Seurat perhaps overplays the artist's crippling level of obsessiveness, but he's all over the technical challenges. And his vaulting tenor and natural charisma both take flight as Seurat's great-grandson, a successful maker of art installations in the 1980s who gives good face but remains plagued by self-doubt.

The redoubtable Nancye Hayes is a comic delight, first as Seurat's crusty and confused mother and then as a bitchy, superstar art critic as the action fast-forwards.

Anna Cordingley's design is a work of art in itself: stippled projections of Seurat's paintings appear and vanish on a stage canvas that runs to clever shadow play and a frame of high-wattage light; fabulous costumes evoke both late Victorian dress and the trashy, avant-garde fashion of the early 1980s, in an ebullient palette, without being simply cartoonish.

Stuart Maunder's direction and the performances (and accents) do wobble a bit at the start. But the work kicks on hugely in the second half, and it's marvellous to be able to enjoy a difficult pleasure performed with such energy, skill and flair.
jika diwebsite ini anda menemukan artikel dengan informasi dan konten yang salah, tidak akurat, bersifat menyesatkan, bersifat memfitnah, bersifat asusila, mengandung pornografi, bersifat diskriminasi atau rasis mohon untuk berkenan menghubungi kami di sini agar segera kami hapus.
◄ Newer Post Older Post ►

© KAWUNGANTEN.COM Powered by Blogger