Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Musical Review: Victor/Victoria

Recently, I got to watch my 2nd musical: Victor/Victoria in the Esplanade, Singapore. It was very entertaining with flamboyant costume and nice sets to depict the nights and clubs of Paris. The interesting humourous storyline; made famous by the movie version staring Julie Andrews, brought laughter to the theatre. (the guy beside me was laughing out loud)

Do take note that all the opinions expressed here is based on my humble opinions of a beginner-theatre-goer who has only watched one other musical: Phantom of the Opera about 2 years back.

In MHO, Victor/Victoria by Zebra Crossing was worth watching but not as good as I've expected. My attention was captured at the beginning with the glittering setting and the busy scenes with many different characters on stage. Towards the end, perhaps knowing the storyline, I couldn’t wait for it to end. But overall, it’s a funny, entertaining musical. Wished I could afford better seats to see their facial expression though.

Briefly on the storyline (excerpt from wikipedia):
A penniless soprano, named Victoria, colludes with a struggling gay impresario to disguise herself as a man named Victor, who entertains as a female impersonator known as "Victoria" - and as a result becomes the toast of Paris. Complications arise when a Chicago mobster sees the act and finds himself attracted to the star.


It was impressive to see the change of scenes done smoothly to create a scene from the nightclub to the streets of Paris and so forth. The most impressive set was the 2 hotel suites side-by-side (2 levels) to show the scenes of contemplation/reprise by Victoria and King Marchan. At first introduction, I was very impressed as the backdrop for the street of Paris turned around to reveal the 2 levels hotel suites. It did became repetitive when these scenes appear again few times later.

The funniest scene was the hiding of different characters when King Marchan sneaked over to Victor’s hotel suite to prove his suspicion that Victor is a female with other bumbling characters sneaking and hiding under beds. Take note of the drunk housekeeping lady.

The scenes for the musical numbers are all beautifully done with nice framing for the nightclub to the grand steps descending down for the final number.


The choreography of the dances is done very well. I only find the introduction scene a little too clutter with too many different dancing done at one time till I didn’t know where to look. In fact, in the scene where Victor and King Marchan had drinks, the dancers were doing very nice dance but it was not brightly lit yet to see it. I could only glimpse shadow of the twirling of the dance. A pity.. looks good.

In fact, there were little slip-ups which were not too noticeable. I think during the intro dance, one of the dancers drop the mouth-piece for the clarinet because I heard the clanging of a dropped item (my own assumption.. hah! Did anyone notice that?)

My friend told me towards the end, one of the dancers’ slipped but by then, I wasn’t paying attention so I couldn’t concur or disagree with her.

Still – well done! You must be really fit and have practiced a lot to dance during the whole entire musical.

The cast Laura Fygi (International jazz sensation) as Victor/VictoriaMatt Grey (British actor) as the capricious Carroll Todd
Jake Macapagal from The Philippines plays the debonair King Marchan.
Claude Girardi plays Squash Bernstein - King’s ever faithful bodyguard,
Shane Mardjuki (Life! Theatre Award Best Ensemble nominee) as Henri Labisse and introducing Australian actress Nicole Stinton as King Marchan’s peroxide-blonde, spitfire girlfriend Norma Cassidy.
Even Singapore’s very own fashion icon, Daniel Boey makes a special appearance as Andre Cassell, the owner of the fancy Paris Nightclub.

Laura Fygi’s voice overpowered Jake Macapagal’s. I wish the men would sound stronger and masculine. The same happened when I watched Phantom of the Opera – the lead female singer’s voice was stronger and overpowering. Wow.. women rocks! ;)

Matt Grey as the Todd was just right with the air of gentleman (who likes men) and a confidant to Victoria. His banter with Victor is enjoyable.

Claude Girardi was interesting as the tall, lanky bodyguard who later reveals his orientation. At the end of the musical, Girardi had a little number to sing but the orchestra was too loud so I couldn’t really hear him sing. The fight scene was little toned down but interesting choice of cast to select a small-sized man as the mobster against the tall Giradi.

The most memorable and funny character would be Nicole Stinton as Norma Cassidy. Just listening to Norma peak makes you laugh with her wrong pronounciation and blonde bimbo style. I couldn’t help laughing in the scene when she stripped to seduce King Marchan and sang lines like “France is for horny”. If you observe properly, during the 1st number by Victor, Norma was one of the spectators. She even move her body to the music to show that she was very into her character.

The other dancers’ singings were a little clutter at the beginning but became more in sync as the musical progressed.


In short, I enjoyed myself and this has sparked my interest to watch the movie version by Julie Andrews. I might have watched it ages ago so it would be nice to watch it again. Also, I want to get hold of the songs. :)

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