Shame on you CURVE of Leicester!

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I had booked the tickets for two friends, my husband and myself ages ago to see JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice in 1971 at CURVE in Leicester.  No, I have not missed a word out it is not ‘The’ Curve, but simply ‘CURVE’, now try to talk about it without saying ‘the’ – impossible!  Woe betide anyone putting a ‘the’ in front of it when in Curve building itself.   See even that sentence begs to have a ‘the’ inserted.  I digress.

My friend Karla and I had been to the Curve there before, the last time to see Rocky Horror Show, that’s another story in itself, and she also works there on an adhoc basis and that is also another story in itself, so we like theatre.  I must add here that she is also part of the production team at Market Harborough Theatre, so knows a bit about theatrical performances.  I am digressing again.

The words Amateur Operatic Society never made any impact on us when we booked the tickets, because after all this production was at CURVE and they are up there darling with the best of theatres.  My other friend Sheila loves musicals and knows ever word to the songs so she understands a thing or two about performances.  Hubby, well he is from Essex and LONDON is where he used to go to see shows so is used to the originals by the best performers.

Hang on there, before you think that this is going to denigrate the LEICESTER AMATEUR OPERATIC SOCIETY it is not.  HOWEVER, sadly it was not their finest hour.  Set in modern day the stage set was metal steps either side the stage towards the back as a V shape, with a triangle of light panels at the top which was lit to highlight the performers when they were at the top.  As always a live band played down in the pit in front of the stage.   Sitting comfortably in our generous seats with plenty of leg room – well done CURVE, we were excited to enjoy the evening.  This is about the appalling sound levels set by the very professional team at Curve who somehow ruined the show by their negligence.

Karla turned to me and said “I hope Jesus is a tall dishy looking guy” or words to that effect, I agreed, there is nothing wrong with eye candy especially with a voice.   Lights down, and there were people rushing back and forth on the stage – not sure what that was about but it was part of it, then Judas Iscariot came on and screeched his way through the opening song; he did have a high voice, but the level of the music was so high it did not help.  Hmmm okay.   Others joined him and I wondered which one was Jesus, and realised that the guy who was nondescript with short hair and very little stage presence was him.  Again when he sang his voice was drowned out by the enormous sound of the band.  Mary Magdalene was excellent, she had a lovely voice and very good stage presence and her solos were gratefully heard amongst the music.  At times the music drowned the singers, at times the singers appeared to be screeching to be heard above the far too loud music.   How could CURVE sound engineers get it so WRONG?

Despite the sound levels being so wrong, it was an entertaining evening not least because of the cast themselves.  They gave their all but looked utterly defeated when taking their bow at the end of the performance, as sadly, the polite applause throughout the musical was not what they hoping for.  I think a lot of family were in the audience cheering on the final applause but there was no second curtain call at the end.

What was so entertaining was that my friend Sheila sang most of the songs with a good voice!  There were two very elderly gentlemen in the cast either dressed in suits that could have fitted better (when you are on the vertically challenged side then long jackets make you look like you have no legs), and then as policemen who looked like they should have retired 20 years previously!  I kept noticing a senior lady appearing in the cast and then disappearing, obviously a valuable member of the singers, she was unable to take part in the dancing so disappeared from stage.  At the end in shiny dresses they descended down the step singing and bless her, there she was struggling to get down each step with the others.  Jesus was put on a cross with a bicycle saddle to sit on, very ingenious, and the cross was raised and fastened to the floor, by several people including one of the stage production engineers who came on complete with walkie talkie fixed to his belt etc, thank goodness he matched the cast who were all wearing black trousers and hoodies at the time.

Please don’t think I am making fun of all of this because this is exactly what I love about amateur productions.  I love how it is not the perfect beautiful people who are allowed to be stars, I love how anybody and everybody has a real part to play.  I love the rawness of the production.  My disappointment is with THE CURVE who clearly let these singers down by failing to take them seriously.  If they had done they would have made sure the sound levels were good.

Hubby left after the first half and did not return because he could not cope with the sound, as did several others.  He waited outside, had coffee, walked around the corridor in the round building, and met a critic who had come to review the performance, who was equally appalled at the incompetence of the sound engineers to get the sound levels right.  As we left we saw him talking animatedly to a member of the production team.

I would REVIEW this by saying I had a great fun evening,  I enjoyed their efforts – WELL DONE Leicester Amateur Operatic Society.

 

Author: Gill

I read books and review them. Books are my escape. I have always loved books. I write a blog, I get involved where and when I can in things I feel that are important. I also have Alzheimer's Disease but it does not define who I am. I am in the early stages so you may not notice. So, I will tell you how it is.

4 thoughts on “Shame on you CURVE of Leicester!”

  1. Surely your blog above should be titled …Shame on you Mrshsgreen.
    “It seems to me a strange thing, mystifying, that a woman like you should waste her time on a blogging of this kind”
    Your comments are extremely rude and worse very personal and aimed at people you don’t even know.
    I hope that they don’t read this as I would imagine they could feel extremely upset. Ask yourself how you might feel in their position.
    “Leave them, leave them, let them be now,
    Leave them, leave them can’t you see that
    If your slate is clean then you can throw stones,
    If your slate is not, then leave them alone !”

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    1. Hmm Jan, what is a ‘woman like me’ I wonder?

      Thank you for reading my personal opinion. I think you will find that I did not slate anyone personally, I commented on what I thought of a dramatical/musical performance including stage presence and the costumes etc.

      Am I not allowed to voice a personal opinion on what I thought of the performance, the stage set and the costumes, the singing was like?

      You may not like what I have said and felt it personally but I was there, I watched it, listened to it and paid for the all of the tickets of my party as a treat, that was not reduced because it was an amateur production.

      I did enjoy my evening and thought the performance was great because they put their all into the performance.

      If you read the title, I am talking about the sound levels which were appalling, so much so that several people walked out. I however stayed because I always like to give people a chance.

      Yes I did think that they had mis-cast Jesus, because he did not have the stage presence required. Actually I think that the guy who played Peter would have made a better Jesus, but that is my personal opinion.

      Do you not think that Curve as a professional body should have got the sound right so that we could enjoy the music better?

      I am not a luvvy or a critic, I am someone who goes to the theatre to see all kinds of performances. I believe I said I enjoyed the evening. But, my criticism was aimed at the venue not at the cast. It is the wrong hobby/profession to be in if you are unable to take justified criticism.

      This is a personal blog, with my personal thoughts and opinions and I am sorry you were so offended by my personal rant at Curve theatre.

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  2. Not wishing to prolong the debate too long, I had to comment on some aspects of your reply to me.
    I am fully aware that a blog is a personal opinion though never really understood why people feel the need to write them, I talk to myself instead. Does the trick for me but then I am slightly crazy !
    You said that “I did not slate anyone personally”, but my whole reason for initial response was that you did comment on cast members in an unnecessarily personal and hurtful way.

    Jesus – “nondescript with short hair and little stage presence”……as you may know, the part isn’t often played as “stand out” except for some songs, as Judas is the key / dominant role.
    The actor wouldn’t have been able to grow his hair in the time for the production, but do we actually know JC had long hair? Hollywood has dictated but how factual I wonder.
    My son, as you may know, played Peter and assures me that he would have been happy to be able to reach the high notes Jesus had to sing, Extremely demanding,

    You also mention two “vertically challenged elderly gentlemen”….. something that they are no doubt already aware of and can’t change !

    The worst comment though was the one concerning ” a senior lady unable to take part in the dancing so disappeared from stage” and “bless her, there she was struggling to get down each step “. Very unkind and frankly patronising. I cringed on her behalf.
    I entirely agree with your comments about the sound quality and I assumed that it was the company, and not Curve staff that were in charge. Apparently not.
    I also agree that some characters were more appropriately played than others but I admire the whole production and accepted for what it was, a good Amateur production.
    I watched 3 times and the performances improved as the week went on.

    .

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    1. I admired the production too Jan, and I have no idea who you are or that you are related to the cast. I will apologise for my comments that may have offended, but still stand by my comment of that is the reason why I love amateur dramatics. However, the guy who played Jesus did not have one applause for any of his solos, which made me feel embarrassed for him. Your son certainly has stage presence which as you would know is vital in a leading role, amateur or not. I would certainly enjoy seeing him in a leading role and not because he is your son but because of his presence and voice.

      I write because I can and because I need to, I guess having Alzheimer’s I have learnt to laugh at myself and life more easily, there was no offence intended.

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