Aida – The Musical

October 1, 2014 | By | Reply More

✭✭✭✭✩   Brought to life

Dunfermline Alhambra Tue 30 Sept – Sat 4 Oct 2014

Beginning in a museum full of tourists, Limelight Productions, magically transports the Alhambra Theatre in Dunfermline back to Ancient Egypt, delivering an all-singing, all-dancing tale of woe.

A scene from Limelight's production of Aida - the Musical. Photo: Martin Quinn

A scene from Limelight’s production of Aida – the Musical. Photo: Martin Quinn

Based on Verdi’s 1871 Opera of the same name, Aida tells the story of two warring nations, Egypt and Nubia, but the main focus of the tale is around a central love triangle.

Radames, an Egyptian captain, captures a slave named Aida on one of his missions. His head is turned by her fierce and defiant spirit and he gifts her to his betrothed, Egyptian princess Amneris. Unbeknown to the Egyptians, Aida is in fact the Nubian princess and the hope of the Nubian people. The first act sees Radames caught between his arranged marriage and childhood love for Amneris and his strengthening feelings for Aida.

Cleverly staged within a giant pyramid which morphs into different sets, Director Malcolm Burnett delivers a dynamic amateur production to rival any professional piece. The large ensemble scenes deliver a tribal air and create the show’s energy; they are defiant, powerful and uplifting yet also catchy, colourful and fun.

clever and inspiring

It’s no surprise, however, that the real magic of the show is in the music, penned by the great songwriting duo of Elton John and Tim Rice, and brought to life by Limelight’s Musical Director Paul Gudgin. The numbers are clever and inspiring and create a real affinity for the characters.

A scene from Limelight's production of Aida - the Musical. Photo: Martin Quinn

Mia Oudeh (Aida), Nick Tomlinson (Ramades) and Fiona Dawson (Amneris). Photo: Martin Quinn

But the music isn’t the only magic in this production of Aida, which contains some really moving talent. Limelight theatre newcomers Mia Oudeh as Aida and Fiona Dawson as Amneris are outstanding. Oudeh’s vocal range is exceptional and her portrayal of the conflicted star-crossed lover is entrancing, evoking real empathy and admiration for the character. Dawson’s portrayal of Amneris too is wonderful, ranging from a vapid, spoiled princess to a woman enslaved in her own way and then to become to an insightful ruler.

The interaction of the two in the first half shows them to be kindred spirits, connecting through their shared (albeit unknown by Amneris at that point) experiences but also highlights their differences; showing one princess still trapped by convention and the other open, honest and free, yet still a slave.

It is this major distinction that draws Ramades, played by Nick Tomlinson, to Aida as the story develops. Tomlinson’s Ramades ranges from arrogant to conflicted and although hesitant at the beginning of the production, as we start to see the character’s vulnerability, Tomlinson demonstrates a more confident and assured aspect to his performance.

Performances by Fraser Jamieson as Mereb, an enterprising Nubian slave who offers a charming comic relief; and Bobby Mitchell, as a delightfully evil panto villain Zoser, also shine through.

Limelight Theatre deliver an accomplished performance that is clearly well choreographed and delivered. It could benefit from a sharpening of group scenes including timing and attention to detail, and further work on the sound system and set changes is required. But on the whole, it’s enjoyable and entertaining. Giving a nod to Egyptian ideas of reincarnation, it avoids the overwhelming tragedy of Verdi’s opera with a hint that love is eternal.

Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes (including interval)
Alhambra Theatre, 33 Canmore Street, Dunfermline KY12 7NX
Tuesday 30 September – Saturday 4 October 2014.
Daily 7.30pm.
Ticket details from: www.alhambradunfermline.com.
Limelight website: limelightp.moonfruit.com

Click on the image below to purchase the Broadway cast album on Amazon

Mia Oudeh as Aida and the ensemble in Limelight's production of Aida - The Musical. Photo: Martin Quinn

Mia Oudeh as Aida and the ensemble in Limelight’s production of Aida – The Musical. Photo: Martin Quinn

ENDS

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