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 Post subject: Cape Rep. Reviews
PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 3:52 pm 
Billy
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Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:35 am
Posts: 4060
Location: Rochester, NY
Here's a place for reviews.


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 Post subject: Re: Cape Rep. Reviews
PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 4:20 pm 
Billy

Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:54 pm
Posts: 6790
(Reposted from another thread. Thanks for setting this up, Chris.)

I went to the opening show. I was intrigued to find out what a small summer theatre, set in the wilds of beautiful Cape Cod, would do with this musical.

The theatre reminds me of a Cape Cod summer camp experience: a clutch of nondescript wooden buildings down a long dirt road in what was once, in fact, Camp Monomoy. Entering it is like entering a new, timeless and undiscovered world. The theatre itself (the former camp dining room) is best described as a 'little theatre' of about 150 seats, nicely raked so that every one has a fantastic view of the stage. The stage has no curtains or wings; it is of decent size for this production, and the orchestra is seated in a box to the right. There is really no scope for a moving bedroom or kitchen, for large pieces of mobile scenery, for full blown choreography (as in the original Solidarity), or for flying. This production would have to rely upon the strengths of the musical itself, stripped down, and upon acting skills of everyone on stage. And, last night, I can confirm that they pulled it off with tremendous success!

(The productions at Mendham NJ, and Marblehead's Little Theatre, both in the summer of 2016 did the same thing: by stripping away fripperies and seating 100 or so patrons so close to the actors, that sometimes they were among the actors, making the story come alive in a way that is rarely seen in a large and conventional theatre facility.)

Cast numbers are slightly reduced. There are six ballet girls. There are five miners and five police. The orchestra (who played beautifully) were just four in number; yet I never felt the accompaniment lacked in any way. Even the stagehands were absent: scenery was moved by the ballet girls with choreographed precision as they ran around the stage, lightly giggling like sprites, or Tinkerbell's assistants.

For an opening night, the cast performed with nary a hitch, and with great confidence. The singing voices were strong and excellent (I sat in the front row, and the ending of the first number had the cast literally singing two feet in front of me). For those who note these things, the full blown use of profanity is alive and well here (much to the delight of this audience.)

Several high points:

-Tapping (Part 1). The cast are unmic'd. This is an 'acoustic show', as everyone can be heard perfectly well. Ergo, the tapping is heard - and literally felt - with clarity. Numbers such as Expressing really come across well for this reason, as both Billy (Matthew Dean) and Michael (Burke Brickner), who are extraordinary tappers each (Burke taps with Thommie Retter), make this particular number end as a gloriously pure tap-and-song duet.

-Tapping (Part 2). Often, a complaint raised in others shows is that the tapping cannot be clearly heard over the orchestra in Angry Dance. Come to this show and be dazzled! Matthew's tapping so powerful that I have grave concerns about whether the set will survive the run - his angst and power take me back to memories of Jamie Bell in the film, or Ben Cook in Boston's Opera House. Matthew's performance last night ranks with the best Angry Dance I have seen from any Billy. This one has to be seen to be believed.

-Because of the intimacy of this theatre, every vocal line can be delivered and timed so that the audience can react. It creates a very interactive audience. The pace last night was quick; the first act was little more than 75 minutes.

-No Billy I have seen has been more 'on top of his game' than is Matthew Dean. You can tell this is his fifth production in 10 months; he has the 'show experience' of a touring or Broadway Billy. His acting is incredibly powerful, and the displays of passion in both Angry Dance, and the final scene, as he says goodbye to Mum, are stunning, especially seen from only a few feet away. Burke Brickner, so the Playbill states, is a relative newcomer to acting in a musical, but he plays the role like an experienced Michael, with a natural stage presence and a joie de vivre that the role demands. Did I mention his tapping? Astonishing! That he is a pupil of Thommie Retter? Say no more! We need to find him an opportunity to play Billy one day.

Walking out after the curtain call last night (there is no finale), audience comments indicated that this show will be a rousing success for Cape Rep. I spoke with a Board member after, and I hope this show will help this little theatre raise some money to enhance its historic campus. This is theatre-among-the-dunes in an historic setting that must be preserved. There was talk that the show may be extended, as tickets are virtually sold out. This may be Billy's last sojourn in New England for some time, and it is a worthy production on which to take a temporary bow.

After the show, the cast were available and very happy to speak with the audience.

Postscript: If you are coming from off Cape Cod, traffic can be challenging and unpredictable. I left an extra two hours early, just in case, and barely made it on time. Leave ample time. The good news is this: if you arrive early, there is a fantastic Cape Cod road side restaurant 1000 feet from the Billy sign on Maine Street, Brewster, called Cobies. Miss it, and you will miss an amazing (and reasonably priced) treat! http://cobies.com/photos/


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 Post subject: Re: Cape Rep. Reviews
PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 12:16 pm 
Billy

Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:54 pm
Posts: 6790
Quote:
But it’s Dean’s performance as Billy that leaves theatergoers breathless and on their feet. Dean, who has performed this role across the country, is phenomenal in combining youthfulness with a determination to succeed at all costs. While I wouldn’t recommend the show to children under 16 due to language, it’s an important play for teenagers and just about everyone else.


http://www.capecodtimes.com/entertainme ... -of-dreams


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 Post subject: Re: Cape Rep. Reviews
PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:25 am 
Billy

Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:54 pm
Posts: 6790
A stunning review:

http://www.barnstablepatriot.com/news/2 ... e-by-storm


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 Post subject: Re: Cape Rep. Reviews
PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:25 am 
Tall Boy
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Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2011 2:09 pm
Posts: 200
Location: Germany
http://www.barnstablepatriot.com/news/2 ... e-by-storm

This is the whole link. Sounds like an awesome production and a fantastic Billy!


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 Post subject: Re: Cape Rep. Reviews
PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:29 pm 
Billy
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Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:35 am
Posts: 4060
Location: Rochester, NY
Lola wrote:
http://www.barnstablepatriot.com/news/20170807/billy-elliot-takes-cape-rep-theatre-by-storm
This is the whole link. Sounds like an awesome production and a fantastic Billy!

Indeed, he really is a fantastic Billy. I saw the show last night and was extremely impressed with Matthew's dancing and acting. I have no doubt that if the tour or Broadway productions were still active, he would be a contender for the role.

The loud screams and F-bombs and tapping in his Angry Dance are at an intensity I haven't seen since Dayton Tavares on Broadway, seven years ago.


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 Post subject: Re: Cape Rep. Reviews
PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 12:11 pm 
Billy

Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:54 pm
Posts: 6790
Quote:
Courage, Emotion And Humor Dances Through Cape Rep's 'Billy Elliot'


http://www.capecodchronicle.com/en/5232 ... heater.htm


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 Post subject: Re: Cape Rep. Reviews
PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:42 am 
Dad

Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:05 am
Posts: 1644
Location: Kansas City, USA
I really liked the vivid detail offered by the reviewer in the Cape Cod Chronicle. I never quite thought of it from a parent's angle before, but I loved her way of describing the "wow" factor of the show from Jackie Elliot's perspective when he realizes that his son has a unique talent: "That first time you see your child shine it takes your breath away. It’s also the time you realize that this human being you brought into the world is a person, a person who can achieve incredible things."


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 Post subject: Re: Cape Rep. Reviews
PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:08 am 
Billy

Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:54 pm
Posts: 6790
Quote:
Adapting a movie to the stage is tricky and some attempts fall flat. “Billy Elliot: The Musical” is not one of them.

It’s visually stunning and draws on emotions in ways that resonate long after the immensely talented cast at the Cape Rep Theatre in Brewster takes its final bow.


http://brewster.wickedlocal.com/enterta ... t-cape-rep


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