Martin Guerre - Norwich - 31 March / 10 April 1999

I was asked on Saturday, 10th April, what I like so much about the show from somone who didn't like this version. I love this version because of the style of the show, the intensity of the story, how the show constantly moves along with the songs and dialogue following each other on and only stopping for 'How Many Tears', You have to listen to every line to know what is going on. It is very much more drama with music, with rural France brought to life on stage, than in Les Miz where each main character has a song where the action stops to let them express their inner thoughts to the audience. That works for Les Miz but not for the new Martin Guerre, Martin's new style is just what this story requires.

I still think Joanna is one of the best Bertrandes I've seen and although Maurice Clark's Guillaume hasn't the nastiness of the London Guillaumes I do like his interpretation. Once he descends into his jeolous madness his eyes truly reflect the inner turmoil of the character and you know there is no way to reason with him. Matt and Stephen work well together although I would love to see Matt Rawle and Iain Glen in this version. I would have liked to have seen Geoff Abbott's Arnaud as his voice is very impressive as the judge. Gareth Snook is still superb as the Priest and the whole cast creates the community of this village. There are so many other personal stories being played out aswell as the main one which create the feeling of a close knit community.

Within 10 days from first seeing the show in Norwich there had been one more change to the beginning. This also explained why Cameron, Claude-Michel, Alain, Stephen and Connall were about during the matinee on Saturday 10th. I saw the evening show. The opening now starts with an overture but while this is playing there is a battle enacted on stage. The cannon isn't on at the beginning and you view the battle through a mesh. As the battle was loud it was hard to hear the music but I believe it was 'I am Martin Guerre'. The cannon is pushed on and more soldiers run across the stage of which two are Arnaud and Martin. They then come down in front of the cannon and start their dialogue. It is more the length of when the show started in Leeds. Martin speaks of his home and how the crops will be suffering in the heat. Arnaud comments that he has never mentioned his home before. It then goes into Martin's 'We've been here 7 years Arnaud and what have we done '..... No other major changes that I could .

I would agree on the point which has been raised before and was on Saturday, the orchestrations !!! The orchestra needs more strings and bass to being out the depth of the music. CMS has written a wonderful score and it needs to be given justice.

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