Here Lies Love: David Byrne, Fatboy Slim
London SE1 9PX
8.00pm, Fri, Sats 9.00pm; mats Fri, Sats 5.00pm exc Wed Dec 31, 4pm
Caption perf: Dec 11, 8.00pm
Audio described & touch tour: Dec 5, 9.00pm & Dec 6, 5.00pm preceded by Touch Tour
Runs: 90mins without interval. To Jan 8 2015
TICKETS 020 7452 3000
In person: Mon– Sat, 9.30am-8pm
Review by Carole Woddis of performance seen Oct 17, 2014:
Manipulation par excellence, excellently manipulated.
The newly revamped Cottesloe Theatre, now known as the Dorfman (no relation to the playwright, Ariel Dorfman) has kicked off in style with Talking Head’s founder, David Byrne’s musical tribute to Imelda Marcos.
Tribute is the word for despite Imelda and her husband’s infamous 20 years as President and First Lady of the Philippines, distinguished by corruption, excess and political assassination – Byrne’s vision is both sympathetic and celebratory.
Forget the 1000 pairs of shoes. We see barely a couple. Clearly that is not of interest to Byrne and Fatboy Slim (responsible for the music). Rather it’s to offer a feel-good disco-beat musical which they do successfully that it leaves more than a few seniors bobbing and swaying like re-born teenagers.
Giving a whole new meaning to `immersive’, the Dorfman stage has been converted into a night club, with revolving light-ball and moving platforms where the amazing Natalie Mendoza struts her stuff as Imelda, turning from Eva Peron-like poor country girl into Beauty Queen, romanced in 11 whirlwind days by Ferdinand Marcos and eventually into quasi-President when husband falls ill.
The similarities with the Perons and Evita is striking. But Fatboy Slim’s score (with occasional ballads from Thomas Gandey and José Luis Pardo) exudes a wilder form of energy than Andrew Lloyd-Webber whilst Alex Timbers production is an extraordinary 90 minute blast of technical, musical and production virtuosity, timed to the last second.
Byrne’s lyrics don’t often rise much above cliché but they are effective enough to carry the main story of Imelda’s rise and fall and the parallel one of Ninoy Aquino, sometime boy-friend, later political rival.
Timbers’ kinetic production never falters. It’s a wonder, led by the stunning Mendoza who gives Imelda glamour, courage, even heart.
More uncomfortably if justifiably, the production also carries a palpable whiff of crowd manipulation, just as the Marcos’ themselves achieved, as the Dorfman’s audience enjoyably collude in being willingly moved by `friendly’ attendants from pillar to post.
Similarly Imelda is back in the Phillippines, still manipulating politics to her own ends. She deserves a harsher treatment. But by the look of it, that as they say, is another story.
Here Lies Love
Concept & Lyrics by David Byrne
Music by David Byrne & Fatboy Slim
Additional music by Thomas Gandey and José Luis Pardo
DJ: Martin Sarreal
Imelda Marcos: Natalie Mendoza
Estrella Cumpas: Gia Macuja Atchison
Ninoy Aquino: Dean John-Wilson
Ferdinand Marcos: Mark Bautista
Soloist: Frances Mayli McCann
Aquino’s Mother: Li-Tony Hsu
Press Attaché: Christopher Chung
Ensemble: Christine Allado, Gia Macuja Atchison, Lauren Chia, Christopher Chung, Julius Ebreo, Jim Andrew Ferrer, Li-Tony Hsu, Maria Lawson, Frances Mayli McCann, Martin Sarreal
Swings: Kok-Hwa Lie, Aaron Jan Mercado, Julie Yammanee, Sunny Yeo
Christine Allado (Imelda Marcos); Kok-Hwa Lie (Ferdinand Marcos/Ninoy Aquino); Julie Yammanee (Soloist); Sunny Yeo (Estrella Cumpas/Aquino’s Mother)
Director: Alex Timbers
Choreographer: Annie-B Parson
Set Designer: David Korins
Costume Designer: Clin Ramos
Lighting Designer: Justin Townsend
Sound Designers: M L Dogg and Cody Spencer
Projection Designer: Peter Nigrini
Music Supervisor: Kimberly Grigsby
Collaborating Music Producer: Justin Levine
Music Editor: Matt Stine
Associate Director: Andrew Scoville
Associate Choreographer: Elizabeth Demend
UK Music Director: Theo Jamieson
Associate Set Designer: Amanda Stephens
Associate Costume Designer: Christopher Vergara
Associate Lighting Designer: Jake DeGroot
Associate Sound Designer: Tony Kayle
Fight Director: Kate Waters
Company Voice & Dialect Work: Jeannette Nelson and Daniele Lydon
Assistant Choreographer (London): Steve Kirkham
Staff Director: Elle While
Assistant Director/Choreographer (NY): Richard J Hinds
Casting Director CDG: Pippa Ailion
Manila Casting: Charlotte Sutton
Project Draughting: Emma Morris
Digital Art: Emma Pile
Here Lies Love is presented by special arrangement with Joey Parnes and EMURSIVE.
Originally produced in New York by the Public Theater and was presented by Williamstown Theatre Festival as part of a residency at Mass Moca, North Adams, Massachusetts in June 2012
Original production developed with Marianne Weems
First performance at The Dorfman Theatre, National Theatre, London, Oct 14, 2014
See also www.national.org.uk