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Maxwell can't get enough: the overture, he says, is "all but a show in itself with its dancing bears, Uncle Sam on stilts and women riding on a carousel made up of the letters CAROUSEL".
For Bowie-Sell, though, it's "strikingly executed" but "feels a little too much". Does Carousel – allegedly Rodgers and Hammerstein's favourite of their musicals – survive this dichotomy?
"Price captures the essential darkness of the book," opines Hitchins, "but this isn’t a satisfyingly fluent interpretation.
The story’s emotional complexities aren’t fully explored." "By all means go to bask in the beautiful, ravishingly performed score again, but Carousel has seldom felt less affecting" concurs Shenton, echoed by Hemming, who concludes that "though musically ravishing, this fairground ride is emotionally underpowered." There are some that disagree.
"This is a Broadway musical as you sadly rarely get to hear them anymore." And all agree, if Carousel's a bit patchy acting-wise, it's a total knockout musically. "The orchestra’s handling of the score is glorious — delicate, sweeping, witty.Do Jenkins and Boe find the heart of Rodgers and Hammerstein's classic couple?Does Price's production prove a hit with the critics? He's a tenor who's played Jean Valjean in Les Mis and JM Barrie in Finding Neverland, been nominated for two Brit awards, and sold over a million UK albums. "It is a pleasure to hear singers of the calibre of Alfie Boe and Katherine Jenkins," he writes, adding that Boe "conveys the character’s complexity, combining a bear-like roughness with hints of an underlying gentleness" and that Jenkins sings with a "rapt sincerity that perfectly conveys the confusions of love." Henry Hitchings (Evening Standard, ) agrees, about Jenkins' Julie at least, labelling her "demure and appealing".Will Carousel prove a welcome revival of the ENO's fortunes, or should they jump off this ride now? She's a mezzo-soprano who's sold over four million UK albums and won two Brit awards. "She sings ardently," he observes, "albeit with a bit too much breathy vibrato." Apart from a few instances – Mark Shenton (The Stage, ), soaring "from the mezzo-like swimming cream of its lower register to the shiver-inducing silver of its heights." Boe's singing comes in for similarly lavish praise – "eloquent, pliant, towering" says Hemming – but his acting decidedly does not."He is rigid throughout," says Daisy Bowie-Sell (What's On Stage, ) notices that "his intonation and American accent sounds like a stiffer Yogi Bear".