|*Thank you to WMC for tickets to review.|
If you follow our blog you might already know just how obsessed George is with Titanic, he adores her story and is very intrigued as to how ships are built and the way in which she sank. When we were invited to review Titanic the Musical at Wales Millennium Centre, I couldn’t wait to take my little dude along to the show…
The story follows the maiden voyage of Titanic, from boarding to sinking, with many songs scattered throughout the performance. I was very intrigued to see how they would convey the story from tart to finish upon a stage, here are my thoughts…
As the story began, I have to say I was a little disappointed by the static set. The only movement upon stage was a ladder and some very simple props, such as tables and chairs. I think a lot of the prop changes weren’t as powerful as I’d have liked them to have been, and during the interval I overheard someone mention how they’d expected more in the way of luxurious fabrics and props, and I have to say, I agree.
Later in the performance the set offers a little more in the way of drama, during the sinking stage of Titanic. Still, this doesn’t last long, so it was a moment to definitely savour. George loved this moment, it really excited his imagination, and I felt him literally sit up straight as the scene occurred.
The costumes were interesting, luxurious and you could easily tell who was who from how they were pieced together. I loved the beautiful dresses, hats and use of colour to distinguish first, second and third class, as well as the crew.
As for the story, I feel it didn’t go deep enough. There were lots of stories running throughout, but they were all pretty simple and I feel I would have responded better to one strong story running throughout the show. The audience around us was incredibly chatty last night during the interval, and I was sat behind a group of people who were absolutely in love with the show, but in front of a group of people who found it a little boring. I also overheard someone ask why it wasn’t like the ‘Leo Movie’… Now I know it has not been advertised in this way, but unless you look into the concept you would probably easily mistake it for the classic film. George asked whether Jack would be in it, but I had read ahead that this wouldn’t follow the movie. If you’re looking for that depth of storyline, you won’t find it within this performance.
I think another element that created a lack of depth was the sheer amount of songs. AS much as I love musicals (I REALLY do!), I just don’t think it’s necessary within this production. Not many of the songs really hooked me in, I was too desperate for the conversations, the love and loss, and the tragedy… I didn’t need the songs.
The dialogue was really strong throughout, and I just wish there was more of it. There were a lot of witty conversations, deep and sentimental talks, and I just wanted more of this, so much more.
The first act didn’t really grab my attention, and I was a little on the fence as to how the second act would go. This was a disappointing feeling, because if I felt this way, how did George feel?
The second act came with a lot more action and drama. I loved how the ship tipped, but as I’ve said, it lasted but a moment. The scene with the separation of women and men was particularly poignant, and I loved it when the female cast stood within the audience to sing to their husbands. There were some very moving moments during the final act, and I loved the moment between Ida (Judith Street) and Isador (Dudley Rogers) as they performed Still.
One thing I would like to comment on is the lack of children within the cast. I think adding children in would have given something for children going to see this production something to relate to. It would have also deepened the horror and sadness of the tragedy that occurred; I was really disappointed by this.
When it comes to performances, there were a few members of the cast that really stood out for me. Firstly, Niall Sheehy, who performed as Frederick Barrett, offered a really strong performance and I really loved his story; I felt truly moved when he gives up his place in the lifeboat at the end of the second act. His voice was powerful and he sang with all of his heart during the show.
I also loved Oliver Marshall’s performance of Howard Bride, the junior wireless operator. He was a little gem on the stage, and his voice and overall performance was beautiful. I loved his performance of The Foundering and I hope I catch him in other productions in the future.
The final part of Act Two was totally heartbreaking, and I felt very moved by the memorium as it hung upon the stage. Listening to the survivors talk about the reality of the tragedy, hearing the screams of those who died, and the silence thereafter, it broke my heart.
At the end we headed on over to look at the list of 1517 people who died, and I spied a George Allen (member of the crew) on the list. This gave me massive goosebumps, as did the list as a whole.
I think Titanic the Musical is very interesting, but I’m not quite sure I can recommend it for children, or those who are only keen on the movie. It delves into many stories, and there’s a lot of musical elements, yet very limited stage, set and props. If you’re passionate about the story though, and you’re keen to pay your respects to those lives lost, then this performance is for you.
If you’re interested in seeing the list of those who were lost, you can read it here.
Did you see Titanic the Musical? What did you think?