By Veronika Kallus
The two wonderful things about this performance are the underlying story and the quality of cast and choreography.
Herman Hesse’s beautiful tale of the coming of age of Siddhartha has many elements that could do well on stage. His discontent in the comfort and luxury of his father’s house, his ascetic search for the truth and the passionate journey to wealth and love for example. The musical brought these colourful parts of the story to live – yet balance with less dramatic and more philosophical parts was almost completely lost in the staging which was a mixture of moves out of Bollywood movies and badly copied visual effects from a Disney production, complete with a noble prince and oriental beauties.
The whole show felt effect snatching, loud and incoherent – very much in contrast to the cast who dealt as well as they possibly could with the circumstances and fully deserved the audience’s praise.
Giorgio Adamo as Siddhartha was superb, the strong voice tailored to his expressive songs. The dancers also had good voices and excellent body control. The choreography was brilliant and especially the stage fights had an accuracy about them which gave a glimpse of the talents that were on stage.
The whole musical was sung and spoken in Italian, with translations available on screens – a setup that worked very well. The only exception was the role of old Siddhartha, played by Michael Nouri, whose monologues were delivered in English and seemed very much out of place, disconnected and almost unnecessary.
The play was well liked by the audience. Maybe having no knowledge of the original story is an advantage in watching this quick, vivid and modern fairy tale.
Siddhartha, the Musical is on at the Assembly Rooms 20-24 August at 18:10