Enjoy Celebrity Radio’s Review Finding Neverland Gary Barlow Musical Broadway….
I went into the Lunt Funtanne Theatre on Broadway wanting to love Finding Neverland – but sadly I only liked it.
It’s not horrible or boring – but there were moments when I wanted to check my emails or just find another land.
This is the story of how Peter became Pan with a reminiscent score by ‘Take That’ Star Gary Barlow.
I somehow felt I’d heard and seen this show before. Even though it was my first time. The opening appeared to be an ode to ‘O’ or ‘Mystere’ by Cirque Du Soleil.
Let me be clear, there’s nothing wrong with FN, it just struggles to compete with other original & unique shows on the Great White Way appealing to family audiences with a ‘family values’.
It is also a show of two halves. The 2nd half is much more tight, palatable and slinkily produced – the finale is just beautiful although a little gushing for the British palate.
Laura Michelle Kelly, as always, makes you fall in love with her immediately – such mind-blowing effortless talent & Matthew Morrison is impossibly slick and clearly adored by his fans.
Sadly, overall this is a 3* production & score with 5* potential & moments.
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The cast are terrific, especially the adorable and hugely talented Laura Michelle Kelly who is not only a Star but arguably much better than the show. There are moment when she shines especially during ‘Lullaby’ & ‘What you mean to me’.
Matthew Morrison is off my radar but clearly has a massive following.
His Scottish accent was curious and almost inaudible at times, but he clearly has an allure from his Glee fans. It’s clear throughout that he’s a theatre Pro with exceptional timing, physicality and absolutely deserves to have the role.
The chemistry between Laura & Matthew is inspiring:
Kudos also to Terrance Man who drives the entire show as Charles and Captain Hook. Compelling performance and a spectacular close the first act.
Casey Butler played ‘Peter’ during my performance and was exceptional. His voice and charisma is remarkable and he’s got a fabulous career ahead of him.
Also, bravo to the dog in the show – a cute added ‘Ahhh’ moment to this sentimental production.
Finding Neverland opened in Leicester England, but sadly does not have enough ‘breath-taking Broadway moments’ for this enormous stage. Just when you thought something big was going to happen, the crescendo disappears and it just moves on.
Based on the Academy Award winning film of the same name, the show follows playwright J.M. Barrie who finds the inspiration he’s been missing when he meets the beautiful widow Sylvia and her four young sons: Jack, George, Michael and Peter.
The show has bucket loads of sentimentality and a few Broadway belters.
There’s no flying by the way, well not without the aid of 27 stage hands. Maybe I’ve been taken in by the grandeur of Aladdin, Wicked, Mary Poppins & The Lion King.
The script is also too hacky in places: “Do you believe in fairies?” – “We work in theatre dear, we’re surrounded by them” – please it’s not 1974 – a cheap gag from Vaudeville not befitting a 2015 production, audience & show of this magnitude.
Having said all of the above, some of the performances, staging and effects along with the premise & ‘take away’ is inspiring.
The visuals at times are very moving. My favourite scene was the ‘shadow’. Utterly moving and compelling and beautifully crafted…
So, there it is.
Finding Neverland is still winning awards, selling out and getting standing ovations – so what do I know?
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Review by Alex Belfield for Celebrity Radio October 29th 2015.
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