Rating: 3 stars
Highlights: ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’, dance routines.
Okay, I will admit, I was a little bit sceptical myself when I first heard the name of this musical. I was even more pessimistic to find that the songs in it were already famous, as musicals of this nature usually tend to leave me feeling a bit flat. They painfully try to force songs into a loosely related plot and often include cheesy and completely obvious lines which lead into the musical numbers. Last night, then, I approached the Opera House in Manchester in slight trepidation.
At first, it seemed that some of my fears were coming true. The plot was fairly ridiculous (but what can you expect in a musical about vampires, hey?) and some of the songs didn’t appear to move the action along or symbolise any of the characters’ emotions which are the prime functions of the numbers in a musical. It then dawned on me that, actually, I didn’t care about any of this and I seemed to (gulp!) actually be enjoying myself! I think it may have helped that I only actually knew a handful of the songs already, but it was the sheer energy and enthusiasm of the cast that got me fully onside. The musical also mocked theatrical convention at times, which had the audience in stitches and helped to alleviate my fears, particularly the countess’ aside during one of her numbers: ‘You wait over here, I am going to walk over there and sing the next verse’.
The dance sequences were really well choreographed and allowed each of the ensemble a chance to shine, while the main characters seemed to exude likability. Even Lauren Samuels, who became known to the public during Andrew Lloyd Webber’s search for Dorothy, completely won me over despite my reservations about her on the TV show. Her vocals were perfect throughout and her struggles with feeling like an outcast really hit home with the audience, who felt a great deal of empathy for the character.
The stand out moment of the performance had to be the stunning end to Act One, where Samuels sang ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ with Stuart Matthew Price, who has one of THE best male voices I have heard. There was also a completely unexpected surprise as the backing cloth went up to reveal Vampi’s parents flying around on two huge cranes in bat form. This, again, had to audience in fits of laughter. It did, however, detract from the couple’s amazing vocals which became somewhat overlooked as a result. It was also a massive shame that no other song in the show seemed to show what both performers were truly capable of. But the glimmer we were left to cherish was certainly worth waiting for.
Despite a wardrobe malfunction and some fluffed lines which left the performance slightly unpolished, I came out of the theatre with a grin on my face, which is surely the most important thing. Not one of the best I have seen, and surely nothing to rival the greats like ‘Les Mis’ and ‘Phantom’, but ‘Vampirette’ provided a light-hearted bit of fun and was certainly worth the ticket price. There was also a fancy dress prize for the best costume in the audience. So if you are at a bit of a loose end, grab some fangs and head to the theatre.
Below is also a video of Stuart Matthew Price performing ‘Over the Mountains’. It doesn’t quite show off his full capabilities, but nevertheless demonstrates his performing prowess.
Happy blogging x