Trafalgar Studios 2, London
Seen on December 14th, 2017
Reviewed by Jade Prince
All theatre nerds will know this story as the classic opera which inspired the smash hit musical ‘Rent’. For those unfamiliar with it, La Bohème is an intertwining of addiction and love both set to collide. Which will stand tall at the end? Love? Drugs?
This is a modern take on Puccini’s classic opera which is undeniably timeless. Adam Spreadbury-Maher and Becca Marriott have created a brand new retelling of the story which made me laugh and cry.
I’ve really wanted to see this show for a long time and seeing this brand new adaptation of it was stunning. It is so contemporary. Most certainly not a traditional opera. In my mind, an opera is this huge grand affair which lasts for hours with several acts but this is the complete opposite. I found that really refreshing.
The venue itself is so intimate. The cast don’t use any microphones because they just aren’t needed. I loved the way the intimate venue was used to the performers benefit (but more on that in a short while!)
In this version the first act is very comical. Lots of jokes thrown in referencing recent politics and news. A real bromance is seen between Mark and Ralph. The first act also really showed off the set and lighting creatives’ talent. The lighting (by Nic Farman) was great. The apartment was softly lit with several lamps adding to the soft light. Whereas the next scene in the pub was a harsh chandelier radiating yellow beams with another spot light focused on the area. It was very much the typical pub lighting you would expect. The set was also fabulous, it was distressed and mismatched but it didn’t distract your eye from the performance.
Another highlight of act 1 was the use of the audience during the pub scene. With it being such an intimate venue they really used it well. A lively vibe was created. One you’d expect in a pub during the Christmas period.
The performance itself was kept very simple and the music was also in keeping with this. Throughout the whole show it was just a pianist and cellist playing. Rather beautiful.
One song shorty into act 2 was beautiful to listen to however I couldn’t understand any of the lyrics sung. This was really difficult simply because all four actors were singing at once and no microphones were used so certain voices couldn’t be highlighted at certain times. The four voices were wonderful but when all at once, drowned each other out. As expected act 2 was incredibly emotional and Becca Marriott (Mimi) handled this so well. Mimi is a very difficult character to portray but it seemed to come so naturally to her. The other stand out performer was Honey Rouhani (Musetta). I absolutely adored her performance! She had the most ad-libs in the script as she had so much interaction with audience members during act 1. She was brilliant at this and I loved how she was so comfortable with the character she could strike up conversations with some male ‘prey’ in the audience to pass the time when her dialogue went quiet during the scene. Another thing I must say is that Matthew Kimble (Ralph) can sing to me anytime! His voice! Dreamy!
If I were to describe this show in two words it would have to be ‘powerful’ and ’emotional’
La Bohème is booking until 6th January 2018. This is such a beautiful piece and if you get the chance, do go see it. More information on the show and tickets can be found here: http://www.atgtickets.com/venues/trafalgar-studios/
From The Box Office are doing a great offer currently where you can save up to 50% on tickets: https://www.fromtheboxoffice.com/city/2957-london/43OA-la-boheme/?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Shows%20-%20London%20Targeted&utm_term=%2Bla%20%2Bboheme%20%2Btrafalgar%20%2Bstudios&utm_content=atg_av%20La%20Boheme%2043OA