Captivate Theatre pull out all the stops in this grand production of Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Featuring a live orchestra, a talented ensemble, and superb lead vocalists, this is a show that audiences will greatly enjoy.
Based on the Victor Hugo novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame tells the tale of Quasimodo, a boy with a hunched back, shielded from the evils of the world by his master, Dom Claude Frollo. As he decides to step “out there” into the world, he encounters Esmerelda, a travelling performer who sees the good within him whilst others tease him because of how he looks. Soon Quasimodo, his master, Dom Claude Frollo and army captain Phoebus fall for Esmerelda. As she turns down Dom Claude Frollo’s advances, he becomes jealous and goes to extreme lengths to ensure no one can be with Esmerelda.
Within this production, the title role of Quasimodo is played by Lewis Kerr. He possesses real star quality both in his acting and in his rich vocals. One of the show’s big numbers, Out There, is sung with excellent vocal control and completely sucks you in as an audience member. He embodies Quasimodo’s character brilliantly in his movements across the set as Quasimodo would.
Aidan McGrath is such a rising star and his rich bass vocals were some of the strongest I have seen in a non-professional production, particularly shown in the number, Hellfire. He also really nailed the character both in his menacing moments in and in his relationship with Lewis’s Quasimodo. Camila Lopez is a great talent as Esmerelda, and Hamish Coles a strong Phoebus De Martin. The ensemble was all immensely talented in their rights, and this wasn’t shown more than in the number In A Place of Miracles which gave me goosebumps.
The vocals on display by the cast and the musicality of the piece were spectacular. The full orchestra led by Colum Findlay had such a brilliant sound. The balance between the orchestra and the performers could be improved on occasion, but overall, I feel it authentically replicated that of a West End/ Broadway sound.
My main criticisms lie within the storytelling. The show has a lot to cover with many characters and plot points within the 2-hours 20 minutes duration. The pace is very fluid and as one thing happens, another follows soon after, but I feel at times, the musical has too many different character arcs and the ending feels fairly rushed. I did like the changes from the Disney movie which allowed some moments to be greater explored and the new additional songs by Alan Menken enhanced the production. Sally Lyall gave it her all in directing this complex show and I think it did pay off with a strong version of what I would say is a slightly flawed musical.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame runs at Edinburgh Academy until the 15th of August. Book tickets here: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/hunchback-of-notre-dame