I know your true name, Ditchwater Sal... "Stardust" at TBC
I hope Griffin does well with this show. They deserve to. The adaptation- and I've just borrowed a copy of the novel to check it against- struck me as over rather than under-faithful- it didn't jump two-footed into the theatrical of the thing, and so the first act was a bit.. inert. Pinched the dialogue and didn't add much- I could have done with a little ritual or spectacle or whatever. Things pumped up and starting moving- and moving me- in the second act. It ended abruptly.
It's hard to pinpoint the first act's problem- but it was either an adaptation or an acting failing. My theatre-going companion complained that too many things were played as funny. I partially agree- I think it all would have been more effective and funnier if everyone had taken their fairy tale problems more seriously. I felt a certain lack of commitment from the humanoid characters- as if their English accents were just making them uncomfortable and affected, and incapable of getting right inside the story. Perhaps this will improve during the run. It certainly improved during the course of the play.
The Witch queen, however, was excellent all the way through her various transformations. And most of the bit-part actors were great in their more over-the-top, crazy-costume, funny-voice roles. It's just when they were in-between, playing semi-naturalistic characters in a fantasy world, that they had trouble striking the right tone.
The costumes were great- especially for the girls- and they suited the actors well. I was less thrilled with the set, and with the effects and spectacle. So many opportunities to blow me away with some neat trick, and instead we just sort of...understood what happened. But I think I've been spoiled lately.
I mean, this is why we have the phrase 'solid adaptation.' It's easy to nitpick when you already know and are fond of the story, but hell. Anyone off the street could enjoy this show, and there's nothing in it that could possibly anger a fan.
Good night then,
*No Shrek-movie style parodies, just gentle loving tweaks at all the conventions.