· Posted: 12 Apr 2005 20:00 · Edited by: Richard
I've seen taped performances of the musical in both Dutch and French, and I found them to be a fascinating interpretation of the work of Hergé. Admittedly the actors don't look exactly like their literary counterparts - but then, the casting directors were limited by people they could use that can sing and resemble their characters. I thought Tom Van Landuyt, the person who played Tintin (Kuifje) in Dutch was superb. And hats off to La Castafiore !
The special effects were incredible considering the limitations of the medium. The seven explorers descend into the tomb of Rascar Capac down a cliff, a train arrives at Marlinspike station, Tintin and Haddock set off to Peru in the flying boat, the condor attacks carries off Snowy and then Tintin, Tintin crosses the waterfall, a total eclipse - all of these were produced on stage, and it looks spectacular ! A lot of the staging was rather ingenious too - Mme Clairmont being seated in the actual audience with her daughter, and Ragdalam and Yamilah talking to her like a real show. Likewise, the scenes showing Tintin, Haddock and Zorrino trekking to the Temple were very cleverly done, with Castafiore stood to one side of the stage, singing, whilst the others continue their journey in the background.
The pacing of the performance was flawless, with countless scene changes carried out with apparent ease, and the story flowed perfectly without any jarring moments, the possible exception of the song "Le Soleil", which whilst not feeling out of place lacks explanation as to why it's there - after Tintin leaves the hosptial where the explorers are being cared for. I'm not complaining, of course - it's a great song !
A few changes were introduced to make the story work better on the stage, and a few things were cut - no runaway carriage, but the addition of La Castafiore coming to stay at Marlinspike, the introduction of Mme. Clairmont's daughter, Fleur, resulting in a beautiful ballad in the hospital asking Tintin to help her father. The Thompsons' quest to find Calculus is changed a bit, with them in Native American dress in Callao, but I suppose that's forgiveable. They end up on the sacrifical pyre too.
The music, needless to say, is superb, and evokes the spirit of Hergé's work and the characters who perform the pieces. Everyone who worked on the show had an incredible amount of talent and it clearly shows.
I just wish I'd been there in person to see a performance, and will definitely be at the new Christmas show in London !