THE TITANIC SAILS AGAIN ON MUSICAL WAVES
Vít Závodský 22. February 2016 zdroj Týdeník Rozhlas
(…) This richly populated stage version of TITANIC features a quickly changing and intermingling mosaic of numerous socially determined fates. There are mainly real characters with real names (the Captain and his officers, the owner and constructor of the ship, a stoker, a telegraph operator, a steward, a bandleader, and various 1st class millionaire passengers), but there are also poor immigrants from the lower decks who have decided to follow their dreams and ideals, and undertake a voyage in search of the Promised Land. The impressive monumentality of the giant ship is replaced under dim lighting by a compact stage set vertically or horizontally split into segments (the bridge, a luxurious dining room, cabins). The ensemble (including the many alternate actors) capably handles the dynamicity and simultaneity of events, which move from lyrically intimate scenes to impressive choral sequences. The ending optimistically affirms the meaningfulness of the conclusion of each victim’s life by symbolically linking those that were lost with those who survived.
THE MOST FAMOUS MARINE DISASTER ON THE BRNO CITY THEATRE STAGE
Iva Bryndová 4. February 2016 zdroj www.musical.cz
(…) The fates of the survivors, as well as of those who weren´t so lucky, form the inspiration for the musical TITANIC. During the show, the spectators meet both real and invented characters who are loosely inspired by real passengers. These characters all live their lives on board the ship, dealing with their problems, longing for new beginnings and dreaming their own dreams. The whole plot of the musical TITANIC is composed from a mosaic of these tiny human life stories. You won´t find one, two or three main characters here. All of the people whose fates are described by the musical can be considered to be central figures, whether they are millionaires from the first class berths, crew members, businessmen, or poor people from the second and third class parts of the ship. In the background of their stories, wishes and dreams, one of the greatest marine disasters of all time takes place. (...) At several moments during the show, theatregoers find themselves exposed to an atmosphere that is truly absorbing. In the first half, right in the first scene, spectators will experience the same feeling of expectation and initial excitement as all of the passengers who are getting on the ship. At the end of the first half, just before the crash, the increasing tension is palpable, just like at the beginning of the second half. One of the strongest scenes is found there, during which the fortunate board the rescue boats while their relatives and friends must bid them goodbye and remain behind – an emotionally very tense moment. (...)
FLOAT ON, THROUGH THE EVIL DARKNESS…
Lenka Šaldová 2. February 2016 zdroj Divadelní noviny
(…) In the significantly longer first part, around 20 characters are introduced, headed by the captain – who in Brno is the great Zdeněk Junák: a strong authority, who is clearly disconcerted when he has to defer to the ship owner’s commands but is able to keep his head when trouble appears. All those on the lower decks are certainly worthy of the audience’s favour: the fireman (Dušan Vitázek), the telegraph operator (Aleš Slanina), and the passengers who dance with passion to Irish music and dream together about a better life in America in one of the well-written ensemble performances. However, it also isn´t possible not to love the chief steward of the first class when Igor Ondříček plays the role with the noblesse and dry humour of English butlers. The same is true of the constructor of the ship, played by Petr Gazdík, a proud romantic and down-to-earth intellectual in one. The first-class passengers are depicted with a touch of light irony, just like the second-class passenger Alice (Radka Coufalová), who is obsessed with admiring the smart set. In the end, though, one wishes that all of them could be saved, even the conceited ship owner (Petr Štěpán), who, in fact understandably, thinks only of his business goals and not about consequences. Time seemed to stop for a while at the end of the first part, when the feeling of the calm before the storm is palpable: a slow song about the autumn wind is being danced to in the smokers´ lounge. An ageing couple are talking quietly, while Alice´s husband sadly watches the water pass by. And two young people who have fallen in love on the Titanic (Eliška Skálová and Marek Kolář) are joking tenderly and planning a life together. (...) And then there’s the collision – after the break, everything comes to a quick end in the second part: there’s a little bit of panic, some short arguments, some swift goodbyes. No unnecessarily long action or heart-breaking scenes. (...) And then it’s over, and those who survived are standing at the front of the stage – behind them, against a sky full of stars, an iceberg sticks out like a temple with those who went down to the bottom with the Titanic. A monumental yet not too pathetic end to this Brno City Theatre production. (...)
TITANIC, THE MUSICAL – A CZECH PREMIERE AT BRNO CITY THEATRE
Jaroslav Štěpaník 21. January 2016 zdroj www.literarky.cz
(…) The main power of the whole piece stems from the stunning music (Dan Kalousek conducts the orchestra) and impressive choral performances (Karel Škarka is the choir master). Performances in which soloists also get to shine are present too, though I think that it is the passengers that arouse the strongest emotions: the choir, the many varied human individuals oblivious (unlike the spectators) to that fact that the end is fast approaching. The supposedly invincible ship carries a varied, strictly divided community. Some of the people are travelling out of hope and their desire for a better life, while others feel it is their social duty or perhaps wish to gain exclusivity, or vainly need “to be present at this event”. The theatre has clearly spared no effort with this production, using just about every means at their disposal to deliver an impressive show. (...)There are no leading roles. (...). However, one could identify a trio of main characters at the “Captain´s bridge”. First, there’s the Captain himself, played by Zdeněk Junák as a decisive man of few words that’s well suited to his position. Unfortunately, he gives way in the face of the ship owner’s stubborn insistence that the speed of the ship must be increased. When it is clear that the cruise, which was supposed to be the last one in his long life of service, has turned out to be truly and definitively final in nature, he acts as a captain should. Petr Štěpán played the powerful and vain ship owner in an excellent way. The last of the trio is the ship’s constructor, who is the first to realize that destruction is inevitable, and also knows why. Petr Gazdík expressed the internal imbalance of the character through his dramatic singing. One of the story’s strongest moments is the sharp vocal confrontation in which the three characters argue over who bears the greatest share of the guilt. (...)
THE MUSICAL TITANIC IN BRNO
Peter Stoličný 20. January 2016 zdroj www.i-divadlo.cz
(…) Brno City Theatre not only has superbly prepared actors (who are also singers and dancers in one) but also dramaturges and directors. Only with such “material” could they dare to produce both original and world-famous works. It doesn´t happen very often that the Czech musical scene is introduced to a piece which is world-famous and yet has not been performed in our country. This is, however, the case with the musical TITANIC. (...) In this brief look at the new production, it is probably superfluous to confirm how good each actor, singer or dancer is (even though it would certainly please them) and so let´s just express our admiration at how much they can do. We once again bore witness to the performances of excellently prepared actors that are able to master dramatic roles and express themselves through song and dance in a manner that many “famous” performers in what is known as popular entertainment would envy. On top of this, Brno City Theatre is a place where it is true that as soon as spectators get used to “their” performers, new ones suddenly appear – from the newest generation. And once again, they are exceptionally well-prepared.
A TITANIC WHICH DOESN´T SINK TO THE BOTTOM
Luboš Mareček 20. January 2016 zdroj www.mestohudby.cz
(…) Spectators that expect the theatre version to feature an identical love story to that of the film will be somewhat disappointed. They don´t really have to be, actually, as the theatre production of TITANIC isn’t centred around a love story between two young people, though it does concern itself with love in many forms between people of varied social and professional positions. (...) As far as the music is concerned, Moša´s production is monumental and majestic, just like Christoph Weyers´ scenography, though it is also suitably restrained and intimate in many places. (...) The show contains the right level of expected grand spectacle to avoid crushing the suggested message of this story: that human love, but in fact any positive and useful activity by individuals, is unsinkable. (...) To sum up: strong music as far as the structure and orchestral performance are concerned, good stage design and costumes, and a lot of top-quality singing, acting and dancing. Last but not least, it was cleverly directed so as to avoid the whole tragic event becoming a matter of bittersweet kitsch.
WHILE THE TITANIC SANK, THE ORCHESTRA PLAYED ON… AND EXCELLENTLY
Lenka Suchá 19. January 2016 zdroj Brněnský deník
Last Saturday, Brno City Theatre premiered another world-famous musical so far unknown to Czech theatregoers, the former Broadway hit TITANIC. The show about the famous shipwreck has been brought to Brno by a team under theatre director Stanislav Moša. (...) What makes the musical a special experience is the stunning music. The twenty-six member orchestra under the leadership of conductor Dan Kalousek, who is also the music director, interprets the almost film-like or symphonic passages written by Maury Yeston masterfully. The music is charged with drama from beginning to end, yet incorporates ragtime, a discovery from the turn of the 20th century, into the work very well. In combination with authentic sound effects, it can evoke really oppressive feelings within the spectators, making them feel almost as if they were participants in the cruise and subsequently in the fight for survival themselves. It is mainly in the second half, the whole of which takes place after the Titanic hits the iceberg, `when the plot gathers pace. TITANIC is built on the cooperation of the whole team and doesn´t highlight any specific individual. Brno City Theatre can again confirm what a balanced ensemble it has at its disposal, stretching across all age groups, for such wide-ranging production. Nearly eighty actors are involved, with up to three alternating in the roles of some of the characters, which are highly varied in type, but well-portrayed without exception. The performances are complemented excellently by Andrea Kučerová’s detailed costumes. They illustrate the social position of the protagonists accurately, from the poorest passengers all the way up to the billionaires. (...)
NO DOG SURVIVED TITANIC
Jiří P. Kříž 18. January 2016 zdroj Právo
(…) No-one in the Czech Republic can put together a more professional team. Just look at all those Thalia Awards! Petr Gazdík, Petr Štěpán, Dušan Vitázek, Zdena Herfortová, Radka Coufalová and Markéta Sedláčková, if I haven’t forgotten anyone. And then there’s also Zdeněk Junák, Jana Musilová, Igor Ondříček, Jan Apolenář, Jiří Mach, Aleš Slanina, Ladislav Kolář, Robert Jícha, Evelína Studénková and Eliška Skálová, who are forever (or really are right now) on the cusp of receiving one. As with every contemporary musical, Brno’s version of the story has a happier ending than in the film. The Titanic does go down, but the main heroes, ordinary people this time, third-class passengers Kate and Jim (two truly Irish people played respectively by Eliška Skálová, Markéta Pešková or Barbora Remišová, and Marek Kolář or Jan Brožek) survive and can kiss each other happily... Those who were destined to die, died. (...) The musical TITANIC is a showcase of the capabilities of today´s theatre. It is definitely worth seeing.
TITANIC – A SHIP FULL OF HOPE
Vratislav Mlčoch 18. January 2016 zdroj www.babocka.vram.cz
(…) The musical isn´t about the process of the sinking of the most famous ship in the history of humanity, but rather about the people who travelled on it, its crew, and society at that time. In addition, don’t expect to see the love story from the film of the same name, (...) although there is another love story, a more probable and real one that is not from the land of fairy tales. Thanks to this, the musical TITANIC can be considered a three-dimensional depiction of the period. It shows how society was somewhat divided into castes, with nice songs added for greater attractiveness. If you like the film, go and see the musical to see the story of the destruction of a great ship and the people travelling on it from a different perspective. (...) The beautiful music is very impressive, modern, lively, melodic, somewhat symphonic, detailed, and arranged to perfection. The show also features perfect singing, short, apt and witty dialogues, and choreographically well-executed dance numbers, leading to frequent outbursts of applause. The stage set is modern, economical and clean in design. It captures the atmosphere just like the costumes, which aren´t excessively Art Nouveau. Several stories develop simultaneously during the show, centred on travellers from all classes, as well as crew members. All of them are acceptable, tasteful, noble and witty. There is no dominant role, except for that of the captain, who takes charge as is suitable for his function. All of the characters are allowed approximately the same space, and all of them are excellent. (...) The show is inventive, tragic, with heroism in some places and cowardice in others, but always moving, thanks mainly to the perfect acting performances, masterful direction and inventive stage arrangement. But the music… the music is wonderful here, you have to see it, you have to hear it. The grand finale with those who were saved at the front and those who perished standing behind on the towering iceberg is unforgettable. (...)
ALL ABOARD THE TITANIC!
Vítězslav Sladký 18. January 2016 zdroj www.musical-opereta.cz
(…) Practically the whole of Brno City Theatre’s numerous ensemble acts in TITANIC. (...) It is hard to judge which of the characters should be considered to be the main one. The obvious choice is the Captain, of course, distinctively played by Zdeněk Junák. His Edward J. Smith is a real man of the so-called old school, one who doesn´t like to compromise on his principles and manages to keep cool in any situation. However, Jiří Mach as the diligent but somewhat hesitant First Officer Murdoch is still waiting for his chance. He has already proved his qualities on stage, but the sea is uncompromising. This is particularly true when Petr Štěpán’s ship owner J. Bruce Ismay interferes with everything and fails to tame his passion for overcoming technical as well as business limitations. (...) Dušan Vitázek as Barrett, a stoker who’s been struck by Cupid’s arrow, and Igor Ondříček in the role of the 1st class Chief Steward, both lent their characters a certain rough manliness and austere elegance. As always, Aleš Slanina sang excellently while playing the somewhat eccentric telegraph operator Bride. The ship’s bandleader (Jakub Zedníček) deservedly garnered applause for his irresistible revue performance and brilliant dancing. (...) A loving couple was played at the premiere by the compelling actor and singer Marek Kolář and charming Eliška Skálová. (...) Her companions are two other vivacious Kates played by Viktórie Matušovová and Luce Bergerová. The main source of pathos in this version is the rich elderly couple, Mr and Mrs Straus. The wife, Ida, refuses to get into the rescue boat and stays faithfully with her husband up until the time comes for them to meet their deaths at the bottom of the ocean. The scene where Zdena Herfortová and Ladislav Kolář drink champagne together on the tilting boat is one of the climactic moments of the production. (...)
BRNO´S TITANIC MANAGES TO PULL SPECTATORS ON BOARD
Kateřina Šebelová 1. December -1 zdroj www.epochtimes.cz
(…) The acting ensemble had a demanding task ahead – to transfer moments of great drama onto the theatre stage in such a way that the story is involving and entertaining, and avoids the pathos that could so easily rear its head with such source material. The individual performances form a colourful mosaic of the fates of individuals which combine naturally to form a compact whole. (...).Eliška Skálová’s singing doesn´t disappoint, the touching duet by Zdena Herfortová and Ladislav Kolář (the Strauss ´couple) on the sinking ship will certainly long remain in spectators´ hearts, as will the opening and final song from which optimism radiates despite the tragic nature of the story. Captain Smith (played by Zdeněk Junák), the stoker Barrett (Dušan Vitázek) and Jiří Mach in the role of Officer Murdoch wrestle with their fate in fine fashion. Petr Štěpán is great in the role of the arrogant ship owner Ismay, as is Petr Gazdík as his counterpart in the role of the humble chief constructor of the Titanic, Mr Andrews, as well as Aleš Slanina in the role of the endearing workaholic radio operator Bride. (...) TITANIC offers stunning dancing, acting and singing numbers, spectacular costumes and the atmosphere of a strong story which sends chills down the spectators´ spines (and not only) at the end. The authors have undoubtedly managed to create a new musical hit. The story also has a message that is still topical in our technology and speed-obsessed era – the price of perfection and speed can sometimes be too high. It was pride that pulled the Titanic to the bottom of the sea.