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 Post subject: Pacific Overtures
PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2003 12:28 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Review of this production at the Donmar Warehouse. From The Times.

Quote:
SONDHEIM’S Pacific Overtures wasn’t too successful when it appeared on Broadway in 1976, according to one reviewer because a delicate, reflective piece was smothered by “spectacle and bombast”. Well, the revival that the Donmar has mounted with Chicago’s Shakespeare Theatre is set on a timber rectangle and peopled by a ten-man cast in severe black. It still left me unmoved and exasperated. Why?
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 Post subject: Re: Pacific Overtures
PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2003 3:51 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
The London critics do not seem impressed:

Small victory for a big show
Reducing the size of a show can increase its impact, says the director of Pacific Overtures.
By David Benedict for The Independent

Sondheim and Weidman's East-West musical Pacific Overtures is big. Or, at least, it was when originally staged in 1976 at Broadway's vast Winter Garden theatre - there were 22 in the band alone. The current revival, however, which began life almost two years ago at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, is a lot leaner. Gary Griffin, the director, has reinvented it for 10 actors and four musicians.

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Pacific Overtures
Powerful reworking of Sondheim's musical of gunboats and kimonos. By Paul Taylor for The Independent

At the Barbican currently, you can see The Elephant Vanishes, a brilliant multi-media show about the surreal stresses of living in the hyper-modernity of contemporary Japan. By a neat coincidence, the Donmar Warehouse now unveils a revival of Pacific Overtures, the 1976 Stephen Sondheim musical that dramatises the ironic origins of Japan's hi-tech capitalist frenzy. In 1853, American gunboats, under the command of Commodore Perry, forced an end to Japan's 250 years of inward-looking isolation.

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Smart but hopelessly sterile
Charles Spencer reviews Pacific Overtures at the Donmar Warehouse for The Daily Telegraph


Even by the demanding standards of Stephen Sondheim, Pacific Overtures is an exceptionally daunting musical. As the man himself remarked, shortly before the show opened on Broadway in 1976, it is one of "the most bizarre and unusual musicals ever to be seen in a commercial setting", and, as so often with Sondheim, it proved caviar to the general, closing after 193 performances with the loss of its entire investment.

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 Post subject: Re: Pacific Overtures
PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2003 2:57 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Pacific Overtures
By Lisa Martland for The Stage


Generalisations about the effect Stephen Sondheim's writing has had on 20th century musical theatre often sound pretentious but there are few within the genre that can rival his skill in humanising universal themes.

In the case of Pacific Overtures, revived here in a co-production with Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the grand focus of John Weidman's libretto is East versus West.

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