I’m down in Utah, but more on that later.
I got to go down to Sandy to the absolutely stunning Hale Centre Theatre to see The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Now for a treacherous drama-person secret: I’m not a fan of musicals. (Cue all theatre peeps gasping in shock. How dare I?!) In my field of study, I work on straight plays. A musical or two does find a way to tickle my fancy, and Hunchback is one of them.
Based off the book by Victor Hugo and the songs from the Disney movie, it is whimsical while packing a punch to the tear ducts.
As for the production I saw, it did not disappoint. From the sets to the sound to the costumes to the acting, everything looked well thought out. However, I have to give the biggest kudos and highest praise to the lighting design. When I say impeccable, I mean PERFECT. The most visually stunning scene being Hellfire when fire, created by lights, erupted from beneath Frollo’s feet and spread onto the walls to the ceiling. Colour me impressed. The setting, amazing. The acting, fantastic. The costumes, beautiful. I’d like to give another shoutout to the actor who played Clopin, David Paul Smith. To me, he was the star of the performance. Smith had such dynamic stage presence while also being able to sing, dance, and act. Bravo!
‘But there had to be something bad about it right?’ sigh Unfortunately, voice in my head, you are right. I believe the point of Hunchback is minimalism in set design as to achieve as much as possible with the change of settings and constant moving of actors. As beautifully made as the sets were, having to constantly move a giant bridge that symbolised Quasimodo’s bell tower was distracting. Minimalism would’ve helped this play more. And besides a couple of hiccups with makeup, effects, and music, there was nothing else that could distract me from such a wonderfully done production. (Except for the ass two rows in front whose phone went off during Place of Miracles in the second act. Poo on you, sir!)
Overall, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Check out Hale Centre Theatre and their upcoming productions, including Newsies. Hale Centre Theatre