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14 November 2009 @ 01:12 am
Casablanca -- Quick and Dirty First Impressions  
Let's start with general good and bad points.

Things they did right:

The sets. Oh my god. This was rotating stage maneuvering at its very best. The way they went back and forth between the bar, the casino and the outside of Rick's... And back and forth between the bazaar and the Blue Parrot... It was amazing to watch. And all the background people that gave the settings character ♥ There was so much life on that stage that I know I'll never get enough of watching people chat with each other and haggle over things and get drunk and mysteriously change girlfriends etc (Ten-chan I am looking at you; you waited for Chisa-chan all that time only to go off dancing with Ririko?)

...Ahem. ^^;;; Yes, sets. The signs and things were like exactly the way they are in the movie.

And the AIRPLANES. Unsurprisingly, it's done on a video screen -- the projection takes up the entire back wall, but there's a door in the wall for someone to step out of as if it was the door of the plane. Soooooo coooooooool. Even the sounds of the planes are cool.

And the Nazi car 8D

Other projections included backdrops of Paris and things -- actually the segue into the Paris flashback was pretty neat. (Rotating stage again, and fog.)

The songs. Specifically, Micchan and Tomochin getting solos ♥ Micchan's song is early in, kind of a character establishment song called "Laugh and Let It Go" (笑って見過ごす). Tomochin's song is in the second act after the National Anthem Singing Showdown, called "Glorious Germany" (栄光のドイツ). Her little Nazi backup dancers ♥ (Miyabi Ouka, Haruse Ouki, Mirei Jun and Asao Ren :D ♥)

But more than that, the group numbers. Oh, the power of Soragumisei angsting for a cause ♥ Whether it's everyone angsting to get visas in the beginning, everyone panicking about how to get out of Paris, or everyone rallying under Tomu's moving words... Ah, that's the power of my troupe ♥ ♥ ♥

Plus, Koike-sensei is trying to stay in my good books by giving me numbers like "Employees at Rick's vs. Soldiers Come to Search the Place". It's kind of amazing, and kind of cheap gags for laughs, but I don't care -- it means more awesome time for Ban-san, Mii-chan, Chii-chan, Kai-chan, etc. ^_______^

The dialogue. Having watched the movie less than a week ago it was amazing how I could easily catch all of the lines that had been translated directly (or very closely) from English into Japanese.

Things not necessarily done so right:

On the other hand, having watched the movie less than a week ago any time they cut something or added something or veered off to a new scene it seemed strange. The pacing felt off in places. I told myself I'll end up seeing the play more times than the movie, so I'll get used to it... probably. We'll see.

I mostly didn't like the way they changed the dialogue between Ilsa and Rick, specifically when she told him what part of her story... But that could be because of something else.

Actually, also about pacing, all of the "memories in Paris" scenes meant that a significant portion of the first act contained no Micchan, Tomochin, Alice-chan, etc. I'm kind of getting used to that sort of thing happening. :(

Other points of interest:

No less than three people smoke on stage -- Yuuhi, Micchan and Tomochin. Like, with actual lighters. If I knew anything about cigarettes, I would wonder what kind they are...

There is also real liquid in glasses. Not that they're actually drinking much of it.


Apparently so many otokoyaku are being used as soldiers and resistance fighters that for some of the background Moors THEY PUT MUSUMEYAKU IN BEARDS.

Some of our tallest musumeyaku -- Ecchan, Kanari, and the newbie 95ths who I know are lying about their heights (Ryouko and Urara) -- spend a significant portion of the show as otokoyaku. ;D


(Veterans of little boy roles Mayu-chan and Ebi-chan get to be curly-haired helper boys at Rick's ♥ ♥)

The actresses:

Rick Blaine (Oozora Yuuhi): There's no denying that Yuuhi has talent and appeal. As an otokoyaku, she made this role basically as attractive as it can be. It's an ideal part for a Takarasienne. But Yuuhi is no Humphrey Bogart. Actually, what I saw in her performance was shadows of Stefano from Hollywood Lover. A couple of times I saw the Bogart.

A lot of our perceptions of a character are colored by our feelings about the actresses, I find. If I were completely starry-eyed about Yuuhi, I'd probably be 100% in love with this role. Since what I feel is more of a guarded acceptance, I'm indifferent to Rick as I'm more interested in the side characters. :P

Victor Lazslo (Ranju Tomu): Whereas Tomu surprised me in a different way. When Tegan and I watched the movie we squealed about how Laszlo was such a charismatic figure, and how awesome it would be. Because I love Tomu.

So it was almost a let-down when my first impression was "I've seen this before". Take the suave-ness (suavity?) of Baron Victor Orange (lol another Victor) and the positive, believing-in-the-truth attitude of Phoenix Wright and that's basically what I saw. There was some of that leadership ability and charisma too, I guess, but... I realized that I'm ready to see Tomu in a drastically different role.

Louis Renault (Hokushou Kairi): Ooohhhhh my god. Apparently Micchan got coerced talked into wearing padding to make herself look older / heavier, and I just... will never get over it. XDDDD;;;;; That being said, her appearance was Renault to a T. What a transformation.

I would've liked a little more palpable evil sleaziness instead of just a blows-with-the-wind, semi-pompous and comically sleazy character... But I think I didn't feel the evil sleaze as much because they cut some of the dialogue between Renault and Strasser. :\

Heinrich Strasser (Yuumi Hiro): Tomochin. Tomochin Tomochin Tomochin in her mustache and her boots and her evil Nazi uniform. GOD, YES. I will never get enough. Ever. As we all know, she's perfected the art of villainy at this point... So her Strasser is just 100% evil and drop-dead smexy. ;D

*from here Julie goes in whatever order she feels like*

Ugarte (Amou Tamaki): GOOD LORD, TAMA. *________* It was like Ugarte stepped right out of the movie. The way she did her hair, and the way she held herself, and her speaking voice... ♥ ♥ ♥ I was so impressed.

And since Ugarte meets with an unfortunate ending in the first act, TamaTama also got to be a Moor leading the bazaar song in the second act! :D

Ferrari (Isono Chihiro): Fat suit #2 went to Isono-san. ^^;;; But she carries it amazingly well. さすが Senka ♥ Glad to have you supporting my troupe, Isono-san ♥

Carl (Kotobuki Tsukasa): Fat suit #3 went to Susshii-san ^^;;; Which, again, she pulls off well and is in keeping with the character. But rather than go for the balding look, she has a kind of amusingly-styled gray wig. And glasses ♥ Susshii-san ♥ I want more of this story to be about everyone in Rick's except Rick Carl.

Sam (Ban Akira): Ngh. Ban-san's makeup is quite... dark. Not really how I'd like to see her in her last role, but what can you do T_____T;;; Her English singing was of course excellent, and she characterized a whimsical and easygoing sort of black man without being offensively over-stereotyped.

Sascha (Harukaze Misato): Oh Mii-chan and your curly hair and your playing with cocktail shakers X3 ♥ I wish they'd left in even one more line about his love for Yvonne, which was tragically almost unmentioned. Then again, Mii-chan got to do lots of other stuff like sing in the aforementioned "Employees vs. Soldiers" battle at Rick's and attend resistance meetings and dance with a gun in Yuuhi's flashback-dream.

OH AND SHE KISSES YUUHI after Yuuhi saves Alice-chan from selling herself and all the staff people are like RICK YOU'RE HUMAN and singing praises and stuff 8D

Emile (Hasumi Yuuya): Chii-chan, the guy in charge of the roulette table with the slicked back hair. Ehehe ♥ I will take more time to watch you if I can ever pull my eyes away from the other people at the roulette table, okay? ♥ Chii-chan also gets to have Soldiers Battling Funtimes, be a resistance fighter and dance with a gun. OH AND driver of the very awesome Nazi car in the beginning :D

Bigot (Nanami Hiroki): Kai-chan. Is totally not the casino manager, as it says on the character map, but just a waiter? Still, a waiter with lines :D And drink trays that can be used as weapons :D And in the flashback sequence when everyone is like "we have to get out of Paris" and angsting on the ginkyou, Kai-chan was right in my line of sight ♥ ♥

Abdul (Houju Ichi): I really wasn't expecting BonBon to look anything like a big scary Arabian guy, so short and cute Arabian guy works just as well XDDD ♥ ♥ Resistance Fighter BonBon was also great ^_____^

Berger (Houshou Dai): I'm impressed that she managed to achieve a natural shade of blond instead of something eye-blindy... It's still a tad too blond for my taste, but I'll live ♥ Resistance fighter Dai-chan ♥ Being all shifty-eyed and hush-hush and making plans in the shadows and helping Tomu escape across the ginkyou ♥ And also, you guessed it, dancing with a gun in the past.

There were a few moments where all three 88th otokoyaku were lined up in the middle of the stage... I was so proud ♥ ♥ ♥

Jan (Nagina Ruumi): Poor Kacha trying to put on a brave face and being all encouraging to Rena-chan and other people angsting that they'll never get out of Casablanca ♥ Like Annina says, Jan is very "young" and trying to do whatever he can with high hopes.

Kacha is also, naturally, in the gun dance.

Who next... Oh yeah, speaking of those gun-runners in the past...

Cezar (Toki Irisu): Eyepatch. Mullet. Leather jacket. Eyepatch. Mullet. Leather jacket.

Does anything else need to be said? I honestly have no idea what she talked about with Yuuhi... okay, something about coming back to the resistance and fighting the good fight.

It was a nice "stand-out moment" for Masako, since obviously Random Tourist with a Mustache and Cane wasn't enough. (I was briefly afraid that the company had completely forgotten about her ;_____;)

Madeleine (Oomi Ako): Ecchan's stand-out-moment-when-not-being-a-man was in the Paris flashback as the lead singer at La Belle Aurore -- black, like Ban-san (so that she can double as a Moor). She totally rocked it and outshone all her backup dancers, of course ♥

Jean (Suzu Haruki): Is the nasty pickpocket / snitch who's always ratting out the resistance fighters. X3 Low-life-scum!Tomoe ♥ ♥ ♥

Um. Other people at Rick's.

Corinna Mura (Suzuna Saya): Pretty sure she gets no actual lines, just sings. Singing is good, of course, though ♥

Yvonne (Junya Chitose): About what I expected. This show proved to me that I have no reason to be jealous / wary of Seiko, but just in general her performance is so... average.

Heinze (Kazari Jin): The German officer Seiko rebounds with. ;P Also gets blatantly ignored by Tomochin. ^^;; But Chiya-neesan ♥

I'm going to cover a few more random people before I get to the ones you may have realized I skipped.

Karel (Sorahane Riku): The French guy who insults Yvonne for sleeping with the enemy.

Fatima (Sumireno Rei): Re-re got like two lines as one of the resistance members, but it's better than nothing ^^

Cloth Seller (Chisuzu Mayu): Mayu-chan's working on her old smoker lady voice XDD;; It was kind of scary-yet-awesome.

Helm (Miyabi Ouka): The full-of-himself banker who Rick doesn't let into the casino! Lines! Ouka got lines!!! Aaahhh I love her in her suit waving her wallet around like it should get her everywhere 8D

Maya (Himiya Sakura): Tamami-chan got to be the lady customer who's like "tell Rick to come have a drink with us" and such. I forget who the other one was... I guess Tara-chan? *fails at noticing with so much else happening in the background* >.>;;;

Smuggler (Tenrei Mion): That part near the beginning of the movie! Where they're kind of "setting the scene of Rick's Cafe Americain"! And the guy who is like "bring such-and-such large sum of money to such-and-such place tonight and I'll get you what you want"... THAT'S A SINGING LINE. FOR TEN-CHAN ♬ ASDFJKL YES Koike-sensei you know how to please me ;) ♥

Ten-chan is also everywhere, everywhere in the resistance and in Paris sitting alone at a table looking sulkily at the wine list and then when her girl finally comes oh my god I should not obsess so much about how Ten-chan holds her partner when dancing but ♥ ♥ ♥

Train Station Attendant / Man #1 (Hoshibuki Ayato): MAN #1. IS ALSO A SINGING LINE. FOR MONCHI. Again, setting the scene at Rick's and she just sings one or two lines like "I'm rotting here in Casablanca / I've got to get out of Casablanca" or something but ♥ ♥ ♥

And in addition to Station Attendant Monchi is also an Ecchan Backup Dancer in a tux with a hot pink feather fan X3 And and, Random Tourist at the bazaar (Ten-chan is too ♥)

Aaaahhhh okay. Let's do the last ones.

Ilsa (Nono Sumika): When I re-watched the movie I became keenly aware that there would be different ways to approach Ilsa. An annoying and weak Ilsa... Or a mature and emotionally complex Ilsa. So I told myself that if Sumika "grew up" for this role, I would try to be forgiving.

But as Rick says, 声が変わってない. Her voice hasn't changed. Her mannerisms have not become any more adult. Her style of "emotional suffering" just... grates on me.

And so I can't forgive her getting this role that, to me, she doesn't deserve. Because...

Annina (Hanakage Arisu): Her first scene is with Kacha and other refugees, singing desperately about trying to get visas.

She stepped onto the stage and it was like seeing O-Hana again. I cried. She got one tiny singing line and I cried.

She has reached perfection. So mature and womanly and elegant and beautiful and so ready and so deserving to be top. I have such pride in her and it hurts my pride that she's stuck under a girl who's younger and less experienced.

Alice-chan's bit as Annina explaining her situation to Rick was sweet. She gave 100% into that one scene, as it's her only chance to express her love for Jan and the workings of their relationship.

It was hard to tell from the angle that I was at, but I think she put her hand on Kacha's as they watched the roulette table ♥

In the finale she's musumeyaku #1 to drape herself over Yuuhi on the staircase. She also has a very brief flirtation with Micchan as the musumeyaku exit to make way for the otokoyaku number.

She came down the staircase with Kacha and stood on the ginkyou between Micchan and Ban-san and I smiled at her and cried. She's shining so radiantly and yet I feel so... 悔しい.

I didn't end this the way I meant to, and I didn't detail the plot and the flashback and the dance numbers and the pacing like I wanted to.

But hey, it's only shonichi; this was destined to be a haphazard review...

...That took me four hours to churn out >.>;;;
Current Mood: tiredtired
utena1409: Wao/Mariutena1409 on November 13th, 2009 05:24 pm (UTC)
I'm so torn between "TOMOCHIN IN UNIFORM OMG SO HOT!!" and ".....why does it have to be a Nazi uniform?! T_T"

But I still want to hear her sing the "Glorious Germany" song. XD My first thought was "yay, a reason to write to her, she sings about Germany and stuff!" but then I thought I guess the song is rather...fitting for her character? And I'd rather not want to write her and make it sound that I think how nice it is that she's playing a Nazi... ^^;;;
S: pic#94952286skyinhim on November 13th, 2009 07:29 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the report!

Apparently so many otokoyaku are being used as soldiers and resistance fighters that for some of the background Moors THEY PUT MUSUMEYAKU IN BEARDS.

omg, can't wait to see it. LOL

OH AND SHE KISSES YUUHI after Yuuhi saves Alice-chan from selling herself and all the staff people are like RICK YOU'RE HUMAN and singing praises and stuff 8D

Isn't that awesome XDDDDDDDDDDD
poggie92: squeepoggie92 on November 15th, 2009 10:21 pm (UTC)
Wow, this sounds so amazing! Thank you for all the detail ^^

Her little Nazi backup dancers ♥ (Miyabi Ouka, Haruse Ouki, Mirei Jun and Asao Ren :D ♥)
*squees* Kanako!! <3 <3 <3

I am also made very happy by the thought of a gun dance, musumeyaku with beards and gorgeous Alice-chan...Soragumi rocks XD
ruderal_species: Osa by Forceruderal_species on November 16th, 2009 01:16 am (UTC)
Dammit, Julie, and I'd just managed to convince myself to give up on seeing Casablanca even once, since now I'll be spending all my money on "Habsburg".

Maybe, maybe I can pull off toujituken the last weekend of the Tokyo run? *broods*