Venue – The Assembly Rooks, George St, The Music Hall
I thoroughly enjoyed this musical, it was very professional, well sung particularly Paolo Gatti who played both the King and the merchant, a La Scala standard Bass-Baritone if ever I heard one. It was a very handsome cast (my wife was very much taken by Siddhartha, an obscenely good looking young man who fortunately could both act and sing) and I much admired their physicality in both dancing and moving. The narrator, Michael Nouri, was instantly recognisable, from Channel 5’s NCIS, and had a fine voice ideally suited to his role.
The finale was very uplifting and numerous members of the audience were stood dancing and clapping. However, there was a problem. I have read Siddhartha twice, once 30 years ago and the second time last year and in many ways it’s not a happy book. The “all we need is love” theme posited by this musical is not there in Hesse’s writing and the Buddhistic message from the book is much more downbeat. But what the hell! Who wants to be miserable and quite simply adhering to the actual text, would not have worked. Far better, to use some dramatic licence and produce a performance that had people rocking in their seats.
I must admit, I loved it!