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 Post subject: "Contact" in London
PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2002 9:26 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Wildor, Zimmerman and Praed join cast of Contact
From London Theatre Guide

Contact: a woman takes to the dance floor with a string of different partners
Chicago star Leigh Zimmerman and ballet sensation Sarah Wildor head the new cast for the forthcoming London production of Contact. The Tony Award-winning dance-musical comes to the Queen's Theatre on October 3 fresh from Broadway. The show will see the West End return of Michael Praed who starred in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Aspects Of Love and in the 1980s in the TV series Robin Of Sherwood. Craig Urbani, who last year played Danny in Grease, also joins an seasoned musical theatre cast.

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 Post subject: Re: "Contact" in London
PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2002 7:36 am 
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Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
I saw the Contact (much better than Kudelka’s Contract), last night on PBS and what can I say but WOW! I feel like an idiot for not recording it. Very, very, very entertaining.

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 Post subject: Re: "Contact" in London
PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2002 8:25 am 
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Location: San Francisco
According to the schedule I saw, it's to be shown tonight (Monday). Much to my surprise, I tuned in last night to the last part of it. Maybe it'll be on again tonight.

I must say, I was disappointed in the part I saw. I love swing dancing, and even though the dancers were doing swing for much of this section, the style looked like the antithesis of swing.


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 Post subject: Re: "Contact" in London
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2002 6:26 am 
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Location: UK
I rushed into a preview on Friday without a clue as to what it was about so "Swinging" completely flummoxed me! But I thought it wasn't bad - the dancing isn't anything phenomenal and I think it's a little repetitive and goes on too long. But it's still great fun and very feel good. Sarah in "Did You Move" was almost unrecognisable to me but still so beautiful! Very wierd but impressive to hear her speak and she's a wonderful and warm actress with terrific comic timing. And I haven't seen her in like a year so it was brilliant to see her dance so much. The last piece "Contact" (which Sarah wasn't a part of) really drew me in surprisingly - my heart was dying for the depressed, suicidal Michael Wiley character and how he so desperately wanted to ask the girl in the yellow dress to dance with him. Not a whole lot of substance but a good night out I figure - student standbys are half-price so do go and see!


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 Post subject: Re: "Contact" in London
PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2002 2:42 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
A posting from John Harrington originally placed in another forum:

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Contact is in previews at the Queens at the moment, I saw it on Saturday and thought it was fab. Well worth a watch. It is a little different from your usual West End production with 3 short stories told in quite a humorous way through dance, about people trying to 'contact'. There are some v. high profile people - Michael Praed for one but also Leigh Zimmerman who was in Chicago and Sarah Wildor from the Royal Ballet...a thoroughly entertaining afternoon.
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 Post subject: Re: "Contact" in London
PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2002 1:51 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
'It's about the salvation of man'
With its painful storyline and blend of dance and words, Susan Stroman's new dance-show breaks the mould. She talks to Ismene Brown in The Daily Telegraph



For three days after the events of September 11 last year, the theatres of New York went silent. But by the 14th New Yorkers, shocked and heartsick as they were, were making their way back into their seats, and actors were steeling themselves to pick up their cues again.

In a theatre in the Lincoln Center, the public watched something so close to home that one wonders how on earth they could stand it. In the show, a successful New York advertising executive picked up an award for his work, went home to his skyscraper apartment and attempted to hang himself. In fact, that is not the whole story, because Contact, the show in question, is a fairy story and fairy stories can have happy endings.

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 Post subject: Re: "Contact" in London
PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2002 2:44 am 
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Feature in The Times.

Quote:
Is it a ballet? Is it a play? Is it a musical? Well, yes... and then again no. Our critic gets to grips with Contact, Broadway's baffling hit show



TITLES ARE IMPORTANT. So when Susan Stroman’s Contact won the Tony Award for Best Broadway Musical of 1999, it officially became a musical. Never mind that there’s no live orchestra, no singing and no original music.

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 Post subject: Re: "Contact" in London
PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2002 2:50 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Interview with Sarah Wildor in The Independent.

Quote:
Approaching the box office of the Queen's Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue, you meet an arresting sight. Splurged across the double swing doors is a lifesize image of the dancer Sarah Wildor, legs scissored in a wide extension. To enter the foyer there is no other option than to push open one of her legs. If I were Sarah Wildor I might happily strangle the publicist whose bright idea that was.

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 Post subject: Re: "Contact" in London
PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2002 3:43 am 
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Review in The Times.

Quote:
WITH a show like this, it’s almost impossible not to get bogged down in definitions. No one sings, so it can’t be a musical; almost everyone dances, so it can’t be a play. In the world of the theatre, Contact is a one-off, a hybrid of dance, theatre and musical that takes three short stories, links them with a single theme and calls it a night out at the theatre
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 Post subject: Re: "Contact" in London
PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2002 3:28 am 
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Review in The FT.

Quote:
Contact is ponderously trivial. It sets up the premise for one cliché after another, it gives you aeons in which to think "Well, obviously we're meant to expect that plonker, so surely it'll do something more subtle instead", and then, just as you have already got the yawns, it delivers the plonker, dead at your feet. It's like being asked to pay too much for fast food, being made to wait hours for it, and then finding it's congealed.

Thin and derivative as dance, Contact is thinner and more derivative as theatre. The three short stories it tells don't feel short: they feel like tepid one-minute anecdotes that have been agonisingly extended. The girl in Fragonard's painting of The Swing two-times her rich lover with the hunky servant. End of Story One. The 1950s suburban wife in a bad Italian restaurant has dance-daydreams in which she kills her husband, snogs the waiter, and carries on dancing. End of Story Two. The suicidal loner has a fantasy of plucking up courage to dance with a glamorous chick at a club, and then puts the fantasy into practice when she turns out to be the girl downstairs. End of Story Three, and end of evening. No, these aren't the world's worst stories. It's the way they tell 'em - slowly and predictably - that blights what little bloom they might have had.

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And in The Telegraph.

Quote:
British dancers are good these days, but not quite as good as their Big Apple counterparts, and this strange and original show, which isn't quite a musical, isn't quite a play and isn't quite a ballet, seems totally rooted in the values and customs of Manhattan. It's stylish, it's slick, it's sometimes sentimental - qualities that haven't always gone down well in England.

Nevertheless, I found myself enchanted all over again, although the Queen's is a dire venue for a dance show. The stage is ridiculously small for choreography that was created for a far bigger stage in the Lincoln Centre, while the sightlines from the stalls are appalling. Yet the production overcomes even these deficiencies.

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<small>[ 10-25-2002, 05:31: Message edited by: Joanne ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: "Contact" in London
PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2002 10:13 am 
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Review in the Independent.

Quote:
Who cares about definitions? People are supposedly worried about Contact. If it's a musical, why is the music only on records? Can't be a play because the plot is told in dance, nor a ballet because the dancers talk. So what: it's a show, and an entertaining one. Surely that's enough
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 Post subject: Re: "Contact" in London
PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2002 10:22 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Review in the Observer.

Quote:
Although Susan Stroman's Contact has won awards on Broadway as an outstanding musical, it's more of a dance triple bill. Luckily, Britain now has the dancers to do it justice, with a few American imports. Stroman has invented a hybrid theatrical form, in which minimal words are spoken (not sung) while the characters communicate through movement. Stroman's triumph is to make us care about them - so that when the suicidal leading man (Michael Praed) can't bring himself to partner his dream girl, we urge him on. He'll lose her and his life if he doesn't.
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 Post subject: Re: "Contact" in London
PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2002 10:52 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
A touch of yellow fever
Unattributed from the Sunday Times


I can still recall the sense of discovery I had when, 10 years ago in New York, I saw Crazy for You. The choreography was by somebody called Susan Stroman. I remember thinking what I had thought years earlier, when I first saw Cats: the musical will never be quite the same again.
In fact, Contact (Queen’s) is more than a musical. This stunning show obeys no rules. What Stroman has created here is a play for dance and music: a dance of people and objects, to music by composers from Tchaikovsky, Puccini and Grieg to Van Morrison and performers from Stéphane Grappelli to Benny Goodman. Nor is this “a play”. It is three plays that are linked by their themes, but also make statements of their own.

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 Post subject: Re: "Contact" in London
PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2002 2:27 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Review in the Independent (please scroll down article).

Quote:
Broadway choreographer Susan Stroman does a good line in humour, too, and puts it to highly original use in Contact, a trio of "dance plays" on a single theme. The least dancey of these, "The Swing", is a somewhat scurrilous animation of the famous Fragonard painting. What begins as girlish flirtation turns distinctly rutty as the young beau disappears to find a corkscrew for the picnic and the girl turns her attentions on the lackey. Many suggestive contortions of the swing later, there is a twist in the tale which (just) saves it from Benny Hill-dom.

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 Post subject: Re: "Contact" in London
PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2002 9:48 am 
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Contact
By Lisa Martland for The Stage

Susan Stroman and John Weidman's Broadway hit is not, as the Tony Awards judges classed it, a musical but a thoroughly

entertaining mix of drama and dance, played out to a soundtrack ranging from Bizet to Robert Palmer.

Unsurprisingly, the theme running throughout its three pieces is our need for contact. Swinging is inspired by a painting,

Fragonard's The Swing. Thomas Lynch's sets and William Ivey Long's costumes perfectly create the living tableau, as they do

for the other more contemporary eras later on.

An aristocrat is wooing his love with champagne and gifts, while a servant is eager to exploit the lady's burgeoning lust.

But are the trio – Chris Jarvis, Helen Anker and Gavin Lee – what they say they are or merely playing with their roles and

expectations?

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