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Monday, May 12, 2008

Christ.0 the musical

Me at a theatrical play, who had ever thought this would happen...

Well, Christ.0 was one the best releases in 2006, if not the best. So when Vanden Plas announced to make a musical out of it, I first had the wish to watch a musical. I never felt the need to do so, but in this case, well, I had to. So together with PL, my sister and an old friend we got tickets and went to the patriarchal theater, built in the year 1865.
Having never seen a musical (except in movies) it is quite hard to review one, as it might become unfair easily, but I'll try to do my best.

On the cd I never understood the concept they wrote, I just love it because of the music. The story of the play is quite different to the original, but why not? Storytelling should be a creative process, too, so it's just fine for me.
Edmont Dantes (played by Andi Kuntz) got imprisioned on a ship, abuses drugs and finds a way to escape. He uses the ship as a base of operations. He became schizophrenic and his 2nd personality managed to become inspector Xsaviour (Chris Murray) ; the good personality hunts the bad one of himself. Prosecutor Villefort (Mischa Mang) who imprisioned Dantes is a drug dealer and uses the fine society for his secret business. Fearing that Dantes could unleash his secret, he's after Dantes as well, so they all are hunting each other. Dantes' son (not knowing who his real father is) is in love with Villeforts daughter, which complicates things even more.

So much about the plot. I had the feeling they told it rather sparsely, I wished they had more to tell, but hey, it is a necessity for a musical to take time for everything; they play, sing songs, change stage sets, so 2 hours are filled rapidly.
And indeed, there wasn't one boring minute in it. The construction of the plot is great, e.g. you find out about Dantes schizophrenia very late in the play.

With all the technical ability the theater provides they seemed to have plenty of fun creating all stage design and characters, and it really turned out good for the audience, too.
Playing with a story that's centuries old in the here and now turned out quite good. Electrically moving requisites, back projection, front projection on gauze while playing behind it, besides old geeks like trap doors etc. are cleverly used, a multimedia stage turned out; very fine, delicate use of light made a great three dimensional look of the stage.
The charachters are all a drawn a bit to the grotesque, but don't turn out cheesy at all. Indeed, in many moments this is where it becomes fun, for example when the prosecutors dark soul comes to light. What a great show! Mischa Mang for sure loves this part the most.
If they ever decide to make a DVD, I bet they just need one camera, just film the stage, it is all perfectly done already.

Musically Vanden Plas had to extend a lot of course, it wouldn't be done if they only played the cd. Plenty of fills here and atmospherics there were added to make it a complete play. The additional compositions are more in a musical style than prog metal, but one would expect that.
Vanden Plas of course play the enitre show live, and they do that really awesome. They are perfectionists! In my opinion it is a crime to let them play in the orchestra pit. They should be on the stage as well, so the audience could see them playing the music.
And they should turn the PA to eleven! It was at about 3 or 4; not loud enough imo. If they make a prog metal musical, the agressive parts should blast the audience imo.
But hence, they probably fear to damage the good old theater...

The director of the theater said he asked them to produce the musical because he wants to have a show that attracts young people. That seemed like a strange idea to me, as kids normally don't listen to prog metal. But it turns out very well. Classes come to watch the play; they even come in busses. In the break we found us inmidst a huge bunch of kids.
I like the double effect of it, kids come to see a rock musical and experience prog metal. And they all seemed to like it, just like all of us.


BG said...

I like Vanden Plas...sort of

Its just one of the bands where the singer doesn't quite manage to loose the German accent.

Don't get me wrong I like Germans (been altogether 16 motnths there) but for me that is sort of a distraction. I have the same problem with "Poverty's No Crime" which is another band I really try to like.

Anyways, nobody's perfect and I should be happy for the great music coming from your country accent or no accent. Besides Every band cannot be as perfect Koyaanisqatsy......they don't sing :)

stringray said...

I hear you, BG. If the accent of the vocalist distracts you there's no help. I don't listen to a couple of good musicians either because I don't like the vocalists, for example Hubi Meisel or Andi K├╝sch. Or cookies in general. vocals are the cream finish of a song, and if that doesn't match your tastes, well, you are to lose all the rest either.

Andi Kuntz improved his style in the last couple of years, and I like VP since the Beyond Daylight album. I don't warm up with their prior cds, because of Andi's vox being not as good... so, you're not alone. :)

MAVIII said...

That all seems pretty amazing, will this be on Video . . . it has to be?

We yanks probably don't mind the "accents" and I quite like his voice, but Vanden Plas was always hit and miss. My 1st experience with them was "A Far-off Grace", some songs were VERY strong, but as the album progresses, it degresses into mellower and mellower songs till the end, but like a script, it should start strong then start to level out and then peak at the end.
It was too Powermetalish as well at times, which forgive, I am very picky about.

But the album "Christ.0" really blew me away, hearing it through our PrOguli friend "Beowulf". Really good solid album and an acculmulation of their skills.

Thanks for the critique of the Musical Ray :)