Notre Dame de Paris at the London Coliseum
The musical adaptation of Notre Dame de Paris from the early 19th-century novel by Victor Hugo has dazzled audiences across the globe for 20 years. Enduring an unfortunate frosty reception at its London debut in 2000, where it was critiqued for clumsy lyric translation and a penchant for using backing tracks, the show is gracing the capital’s stage for a week at the beautiful Coliseum, with a reworked authentic french-language delivery, an accompanying live orchestra and a tentative hope it can enchanter us this time around.
The spotlight shines upon Parisian poet Gringoire (Richard Charest) as he opens the piece. He regales the audience with tales of political unrest and immigration complexities, and the scene is soon set alongside a large-scale cathedral wall and movable gargoyle plinths from set designer Christian Rätz. Dancers and acrobats engulf the stage with swathes of colour as the bewitching gypsy seductress Esmerelda (Hiba Tawaji) beguiles the male protagonists, until her beauty seals her unfortunate, deathly fate.
Angelo Del Vecchio steals the show as the disfigured Quasimodo. His love for Esmerelda resonates deeply in his vocal performance. His succession of lengthy lovelorn ballads, however, could do with being shortened, especially when the group of love struck men – which includes his lusty carer, archdeacon Frollo (Daniel Lavoie), the troubadour Gringoire and the cathedral guard Phoebus (Martin Giroux) – all begin delivering their own unrequited and equally emotive renditions.
The intensity hinged upon every song can sometimes become overwhelming and slightly operatic. Well-placed acrobatic manoeuvres and stunning singular male dance choreography help dilute this, though, and perhaps some quieter moments strung throughout the piece would accentuate the highs. Charming and colourful, Notre Dame de Paris is a euro-musical visual feast, a true tour de force that is sure to entertain.
Photo: Patrick Carpentier
Notre Dame de Paris is at the London Coliseum from 23rd until 27th January 2019. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.
Watch the trailer for Notre Dame de Paris here: