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<<  -- 3 --  Patric Standford    PARADISE MOSCOW


The challenge of what is now called Paradise Moscow is that it requires singing actors who are able to dance, and this production meets those demands beautifully. Janie Dee is Lidochka, a museum guide whose sheltered academic life makes her reluctant to respond to the insistent advances of Boris, a disreputable philanderer, played by the American actor Loren Geeting. Together they make an exhilarating partnership in song and dance, highlighted in the first scene of Act 2. Her father (Steven Beard) matures well as one of the major comic character parts, alongside Drebednyov the party boss (Richard Ages) and his unsavoury assistant Barabashkin (Campbell Morrison) who share a lugubrious song and dance routine. There are strong performances too from Rachel Taylor who as Lusya, a construction worker, is lowered down in a crane to begin the show, her long suffering fiance Sergei (Alan Oke), and Margaret Preece as Drebednyov's demanding mistress. The second scene of Act 2 is an admirable piece of staging in which Daniel Broad and Gillian Kirkpatrick as Sasha and Masha, desperate to enjoy some privacy in their new apartment, are invaded by an ever increasing number of curious neighbours.

The American actor Loren Geeting as Boris, the ex explosives expert and current playboy in the Opera North 2001 production of 'Paradise Moscow'. Photo: ON / Stephen Vaughan

Craig Revel Horwood has created the visually amusing and imaginative choreography. David Pountney's production is entirely successful, full of wit and energy, and thoroughly diverting. The chorus of builders, tenants, tourists and party workers is a vibrant body of voices. The music is skilful, though not remarkably memorable (most perky waltzes sound the same in those Russian hands), though the finale is a rousing recap of one that lingers. Steven Sloane is the conductor now; Jim Holmes takes over in June. It is an evening of quality entertainment -- a musical that must be seen, not just heard.

Paradise Moscow will have performances at:

Leeds Grand Theatre: May 11, 12.
Sadler's Wells, London: May 23-26
The Lowry, Salford Keys, Manchester: June 5, 9
Nottingham Theatre Royal: June 12, 15
Newcastle Theatre Royal: 19, 22 June

Copyright © 10 May 2001 Patric Standford, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, UK




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