Dialogues des Carmelites GSMD 7 March

****

At the start of this production, non-singing rioters broke a stylised window in a stylised carriage, and that cued something like the shutter of a giant camera (but with a jagged hole in the middle) that closed off the scenes from each other and the stage from the audience.

Anna Patalong was very good as Blanche in both singing and acting, and I could also understand her French!  Of course the best French belonged to Sophie Junker as Constance.  She did rather threaten to steal the show with her perky portrayal of a character the audience could understand and empathise with. Charlie Mellor made an impressive Chevalier de la Force, especially when confronting his sister on his visit to the nunnery, while Koji Terada seemed uncomfortable as his father.

At the end the nuns stood in a line across the front of the stage and sang Salve Regina while revolting peasants fiddled ineffectively with a guillotine behind them.  When each nun was ‘beheaded’ the spotlight picked her out and she dropped her arms and relaxed.  So the finale didn’t het to me as much as it ought to have, but I was strongly impressed with the idea that killing people is wrong and moderately with the desire to weep.  But Blanche de la Force is my role model (along with Laura Wingfield), so the effect really ought to have been stronger.

The orchestra was your typical non-professional orchestra–the strings played very well, and the others didn’t always.  The staging had a slight feeling that the Technical Theatre students had to be given the same chance as the performers to show what they could do, instead of there being a unified conception to drive the production.

But well done GSMD all the same!

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