Review: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
We went and saw a stage production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers on Wednesday, and the live simulcast of Tom Hiddleston in Corolianus last night. I’m going to wait to post my review of Corolianus because I know several people in America who are going to go see it in the next couple weeks and I don’t want to spoil any of the production stuff for them, and suspect they’d click through the spoiler cut so just won’t post it. Hah. :)
Seven Brides, however, I shall review:
Seven Brides would have, I thought, made a satisfactory 1 act musical, as not much happens in the second act. A lot of dancing; not even many songs (although the big musical number in it was very funny), and it all felt like you could’ve done it with one song, a single dance with clever costuming to pass the winter/courtship in, and then the big finale (which went on so long I began to wonder if it was some kind of weird extended curtain call that they were milking. But no: that came later.)
The two leads could certainly sing, but to my outright irritation, they never danced. The bloody finale kept going on so long I kept expecting them to *finally* burst into dance and for Adam to turn out to be the best dancer of all the brothers, but, uh, no.
The casting was generally quite good, although I wouldn’t have cast the Justin-Bieber-Zac-Efron-mashup-looking-youth to play Gideon, the youngest and most sensitive son, because he was either gay or played sensitive so well he came across as gay, and it was actively distracting from the romance he was trying to pursue. Perhaps if Alice had been Alex, but she wasn’t. :)
The costuming was almost entirely terrific: all of the women’s costumes were great, from their shoes to their pantaloons to their wedding dresses, although I thought there should be greater color-coding to match Brides to Brothers. Most of the men’s costumes were great. There were a handful of pieces for their winter costumes that looked suspiciously Lands’-End to me.
More unforgiveable than Lands’ End, though, was the Very Modern Hair on most of the brothers: Gideon actually *had* Justin Bieber hair, and only Adam had an appropriate cut. I couldl pretty well hear the argument being “different hair to help tell them apart”, except really there was Adam The Lead, Benjamin Who Was Huge, Frank Who Was Obnoxious and Gideon The Sensitive Youth and the other three really had no defineable personalities to hang anything on, so none of them needed Modern Hair to be differentiated from one another.
Benjamin Who Was Huge did a really magnificent throw about five times in a row, where he picked up a girl standing with her back to him and just casually flung her far enough into the air, and backward, that she and all her skirts cleared his head easily and she was caught by guys behind them. The fifth time, he threw one of the other men, which was great because it let me really see the *throw* instead of the skirts, and just, wow. Enormous strength there! It was so smoothly done that Ted was looking for wires on the women. :)
The social dance/fight scene (in which that throw featured) was just wonderful. So were the sets: the sets were amazing, with trees and town and cabin moving back and forth and changing the entire implication of the location with a table or a chair. I practically cooed with appreciation a few times. :)
The story, of course, well. *wince* There were several times when I just couldn’t believe that Milly would forgive Adam as quickly as she did (overlooking the grim reality of “what choice did she have”, but even so), and, well, really, any story based ultimately on The Rape of the Sabine Women isn’t exactly starting off on the right foot.
With the exception of the very funny “We Gotta Make It Through The Winter”, the original music for the musical is much worse than the music they took from the film. There were several times where I twitched and wondered who the original music composer was, because there were some moments where it sounded like they’d lifted stuff right out of Evita (and since Weber always sounds like Weber I wondered if he’d had a hand in the composition, but evidently not).
FYI: His middle name isn’t Lloyd, the last name is actually Lloyd-Webber – he is alphabetized under the Ls.