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Sarah Harding ‘Ghost: The Musical’

So recently I’ve been getting to know ‘Ghost: The Musical’ quite a bit. And I have completely fallen in love with the song ‘With You’.

However, I listened to Sarah Harding’s version of ‘With You’ on Youtube and it’s really illustrated how bad decisions and bad vocal technique can destroy a song. I’m not normally one to try and pick out mistakes in a particular individuals performance. However, I feel like this would be a good opportunity to reflect on what I have learnt over the years and think about how I would have done it differently.

Firstly, if I could reach a specific note but just wasn’t getting the melody then I would have take recordings and memorised the note progression. I noticed that on the line “everyone says that it’s all in my head” she sang a steady upwards progression of notes. This left it feeling emotionless and the song didn’t reach the emotional climax like it should have. Especially in a musical like this, emotion is so so important. The audience want you to open your heart and soul up to them and deliver an excellent performance; a heart breaking performance. Which is what it should have been.

Secondly, I would do less whining. Seriously. Every word she sang was whiney; she’d slide through almost every note apart from ‘took’. And she totally over-emphasised  the word ‘took’. Which was very hard to listen to. Personally, when I get a new song to work on for myself, I mark out good places to take a breath, what words to emphasise, and what emotion the character would be feeling.

That way I can clearly map out a plan for each song. This way even if I change the emotions from pain to anger for example, I still have a clear document with good places to breathe and a good structure of emphasis and depreciation. Knowing what to emphasise to tell a good story is, in my opinion, very important in theatre. People flood from near and far for the story; not the person (in most cases) as Sarah Harding’s case has proven.

Personally, I think employing a girls aloud singer was a bad move as the singer is used to auto tune and getting to choose the best out of 20 tracks to use. The theatre is live, and unforgiving. Good technique is a basic requirement. Put it this way, if she wasn’t in girls aloud she would not have been considered for the role at all. So I think it’s a massive error on the casting teams behalf. The idea of having a famous name is all well and good but when they don’t deliver, and often they don’t, (in my opinion, David Walliams, for example, in ‘A Mid Summer Nights Dream’ was just poor), it can become a major problem for a production. This has been highlighted with Harding’s case as, after some of the reviews, theatre goers decided to not even show up, and many many more were disappointed.

Considering people pay good money to come and see a show, and tickets aren’t cheap, a certain standard is expected. This standard clearly wasn’t fulfilled and this situation could have been prevented.

I dread to think about the rest of the performance and what it was like.

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My Thoughts On ” A heartfelt but faintly depressing, tribute to Nelson Mandela -Review”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/theatre/what-to-see/a-heartfelt-but-faintly-depressing-musical-tribute-to-nelson-man/

Read this article today. I was actually quite surprised that the review was pretty mediocre. I honestly thought something like this would have been emotional and empowering simultaneously.

This article has reminded me that set and all other parts of theatre really do contribute to it success. This may just be because the theatre has become a spectacle and that people expect to be overwhelmed at the theatre. With the bar already being set so high, musicals with mediocre reviews often stay at the bottom of the list.

It is also clear that un-remedied technical difficulties have contributed to this review, which is unfortunate. However, it does have a huge impact on what can be heard and what can be sung well if the sound system is lacking.

Perhaps this musical will do better once these issues are fixed.

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My thoughts on “Harrison Knights: trans musical-theatre actor: ‘I just couldn’t play female roles’.”

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2016/aug/24/harrison-knights-trans-musical-theatre-actor-nymt-brass

After reading this article, I have been reflecting on some of the discussions that we had during Unit 2B last year. Particularly the conversations we had regarding the impact that race, gender, age etc would have on roles etc.

Personally, I believe that almost every character can be played by anyone providing that it doesn’t upset the context of the play. I.e. If Glinda was black then it wouldn’t make a difference to the storyline. However, if the story was about two gay girls, then one of the parts could not be played by a man as it then changes the meaning of the play to a love story – Not a gay love story. Which makes a difference.

I had not, however, thought about the impact of trans people in the industry and what roles could be opened up to them. In Harrison Knight’s case, his voice, after hormones, dropped by an octave. This change often leaves trans singers with practically no voice.

As a community we should consider what steps we could take to make musical theatre all inclusive.

Perhaps more musicals need to have transgendered characters included in them. Either by writing more musicals/songs about the LGBTQ+ community, or including trans gendered characters in existing musicals. This could help to accommodate transgendered people, as there is a gap in the musical market for these characters.

Perhaps all musicals need to have alternative keys to accommodate trans actors with different vocal ranges, as a person could be perfect for a part, but due to their hormonal treatment can’t reach the notes required.

Personally, I would like to see more trans actors in musicals as there could be a huge pool of talent that we are just not tapping into at the moment. I believe these changes are already starting to happen; ‘Kinky Boots’ is an excellent example of this. However, more needs to be done for the LGBTQ+ community.