London College of Music, final year Musical Theatre students, attempt their biggest feat yet; staging a brand new musical in the heart of the West-End. 'Bel-Ami, by Alex Loveless, opens this evening at the Charing Cross Theatre. I can already sense the growing nerves as the Dress-run ends and the performers begin to prepare for their world premiere.
Photograph by Jane Salisbury, 2014, Johnny Fitzharris as George Duroy.
Sara Raybould M Mus, Head of the College, and David S. K. Henson, Field Leader for Performing Arts, have risked a great deal in order to allow their students to have the opportunity of performing in the West-End. The third year students, myself included, are extremely grateful for this chance to showcase ourselves as well as fresh, original work.
'Bel-Ami' the Musical, adaption of Guy de Maupassant Novel, by Alex Loveless, award-winning writer and composer, depicts the tale of down-at-heel NCO, Anti-hero, George Duroy, as he climbs the ranks of society, sexualising high-standing women en route to his rise to power. The narrative explores: phone-hacking, tax evasion and political corruption set against the fictional back-drop of US-led invasion of Iran.
Alex states in an interview for 'performance reviewed', when discussing the themes of the novel: "it struck me how well it translated into the modern world. Human nature never learns for itself! I was angry at the world young people of our students' generation were inheriting post banking crisis / war-on-terror / MPs expenses / phone-hacking etc. So Bel-Ami can partly be viewed as a protest piece".
The plot involves George meeting former Commanding Officer, Charles Forester, on the streets of London, who takes him in; introducing him the world of journalism, eventually securing him a job at the 'Daily Herald'. It is through his new occupation, at the paper which allows George to commence and guarantee his climb to success.
Directed by Chris Loveless, and designed by Laura Clarke, the musical strives to expose the worst of human nature, using a dark and harsh colour pallet throughout. The limited set involves projections, in an adult comic book style, to indicate location. The minimal aspect of the set allows the writing and individual performances to shine within the space.
The production is flavoured by a contemporary, colourful score, reflecting current chart music, musically directed by George Carter, incorporating such genres as: Rock, Pop and R and B. This muscial mash-up provided Choreographer, Anthony Whiteman, with a varied pallet when arranging exciting and adventurous dance routines for the ensemble numbers.
Being involved in such a production allows the Musical Theatre students to interact with new writing in a positive and intellectual manner, giving them a chance to create and develop original characters as part of an original cast. The students are delighted to be part of the original cast of 'Bel-Ami' the Musical, Alex Lovless.
Don't miss this great production, starring rising Musical Theatre performers and fresh writing that will sure to leave you with lasting thoughts as you leave the auditorium.
Will the risk pay off for the investors and the cast? Only time will tell.
Continue to follow the blog for back-stage access and insider infromation from the cast members.
Bel-Ami will run 19 February - 1 March 2014 at Charing Cross Theatre. Tickets are £10. Students from any institution can buy tickets for £5 using the discount code LCMBA1 (a valid student card must be shown when collecting tickets). Call the box office on 08444 930 650 or visit www.charingcrosstheatre.co.uk