The Light In The Piazza Review

I saw The Light In The Piazza at the Royal Festival Hall and I absolutely fell in love with this hearty musical.

It is a very touching story which follows a Mother and Daughter in Italy. Clara (The daughter) falls in love with an Italian and thats is the story in a nutshell. The story on the surface seems quite thin but it only takes a bit of reading between the lines to see that it is more than a Italian love story. It is actually quite funny at times due to their family differences.

Clara is played by Dove Cameron and she gave a sensational performance. Clara is a complex and 3 dimensional character who has depth. There is a sad underlying tone to the story due to Clara’s incident during her younger years. Now this could easily be played very over the top to get laughs however Dove made me root for the character and not laugh at her. Her voice is incredibly silky and has a very innocent sounding quality to it. Renee Fleming plays the warm Margaret Johnson (The Mother). I was very convinced with her portrayal of the character and her stunning voice really soared on the top notes of the songs. Rob Houchen plays Fabrizio Naccarelli brilliantly. His vocals are spectacular and they really do shine in “Il Mondo Era Vuoto”. Another special mention must go to Celinde Schoenmaker who plays the fiery Franca Naccarelli. Her “The Joy You Feel” was brilliantly sung and acted.

This production of The Light In The Piazza is in a concert hall so there was room for a spectacular 40 piece orchestra. The score, by Adam Guettel, is very classical and it has a range of different styles. There is a lot of classical musical theatre but then there are Arias which are very operatic but then you get beautiful love duets which sound more modern. This is definitely one of the best scores written for musical theatre. It is lush, romantic and soaring. When the overture starts and strings transport you to Italy you are so immersed in the stunning silky sounds. You can see the orchestra on stage as well which makes the production more stunning. However the drawback to having a huge orchestra onstage is that the staging is more simplified. The set is very small for a huge concert hall but it does work well to create the different emotions.

It is directed by Daniel Evans and I think he did a good job at telling this story beautifully. There was some very clever touches which I enjoyed. I also enjoyed the Italian motorbike traveling across the stage, it really caped the bustling effect of an Italian Piazza. I think the ensemble could of been used a bit more in scenes to dress the very detailed set. Mark Henderson has done great with the lighting. I enjoyed the use of backlighting and the bright orange lighting which also transported me to Italy. The costumes by Brigitte Reiffenstule was just stunning. I do not know how many times Renee Fleming changed into another beautiful costume! Visually, the production is justvstunning and very Italian.

Overall this musical is now in my top 5 this year! However some elements let the production down. I wouldn’t miss this 4 star production running The Royal Festival Hall until 5th July!

Thanks for reading. Have you seen The Light In The Piazza? Feel free to comment below or message me on instagram @unoffcialtheatre

Eugene

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