Saturday, 8 February 2014

'From Here to Eternity' Shaftesbury Theatre ****

Throughout the end of 2013 we have seen that one-time collaborators Sir Tim Rice and Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber staging two rival shows ‘Stephen Ward’ and ‘From Here to Eternity’.  This review is based on the production ‘From Here to Eternity’, which is set on Pearl Harbour, just before the Japanese attack where Sgt Milt Waden (Darius Campbell, who takes his accent from Clark Gable) is becoming lustful with his commanding officer’s beautiful wife, Karen (Rebecca Thornhill). Milt is a man who is direct to the point and within 15 minutes of the entire show he says to Karen “I want to go to bed with you” and from this they are having sexual intercourse on the kitchen table. It feels that circumstances happen too rapidly for one’s liking so the narrative and writing needed more work in ensuring that romantic moments are thought of with tenacity and ease.  This meant that the narrative did disappoint me slightly. In addition to this, I think that Campbell’s portrayal as Milt was slightly unromantic to other male-leads that deal with passionate moments e.g. the Phantom in ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ and Jerry Travers in ‘Top Hat’. His characterisation in these crucial scenes would have made more of an emotive statement to the whole show. The performer, for me that steals the limelight from Campbell and the entire company is Ryan Sampson who plays Private Angelo Maggio and his rendition of “I Love the Army” after the interval is a showstopper and nearly leaves a lump in the throat. It is a definite contrast to his performance as Luke Rattigan in ‘Doctor Who’ where he played a young genius who thinks he is far more intelligent than everyone else. I find that male leads should learn from Sampson as he provides the magnificent moments in this musical theatre piece. Tamara Harvey’s direction for ‘From Here to Eternity’ is amazing as she has been able to capture the elements of war and how young men felt that to make their families proud that they would have to enlist to the army to make this possible.  She has thought about the attention to detail in putting on a good production.  I have to commend Javier De Frutos for his outstanding and ingenious choreography as the precision of the dance sequences were performed so brilliantly by the entire company.  Once again, another gracious set and costume design by Soutra Gilmour and as I have mentioned in previous reviews I think that she is a sublime in every piece of design she set her mind to.  I have to say it is a shame that ‘From Here to Eternity’ is closing far too early but that’s the nature of the Theatre Industry.  

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