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29
4.1 out of 5 stars
The Woman In White
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 9 December 2004
My husband and I travelled from the US to see this show, so understandably our expectations were high. It did not disappoint. The songs are memorable to the point that you cannot get them out of your head. I keep humming, 'I Can Get Away With Anything,' which transforms itself into 'I Believe My Heart' and then 'All for Laura.'I realize that these songs are not at all musically similar, but they won't go away. If the show doesn't haunt you, the music certainly will. I think this is the best score Lloyd Webber has written since Phantom. I did not come out of "Whistle Down the Wind," "By Jeeves," or "The Beautiful Game" humming any of the tunes. Yes, there are shades of "Sunset Boulevard" and "Aspects of Love" that appear, but the lush orchestrations and the new musical themes are worth the long wait.
Michael Crawford is absolutely brilliant. He captivates the audience in every scene he is in. He is truly one of those rare individuals whose vocal abilities actually improve with age. He deftly displays his magnificent vocal range, ability to hold a note for 20+ seconds and his comic timing, especially in "I can Get Away With Anything." The laughter on the bonus opening night track, is mostly for the last line, as he holds a large rat in his outstretched hand that travels, with some detours, across his arm, the back of his neck and to his other outstretched hand. Maria Friedman nailed a great characterization of a woman who is changed by the circumstances that engulf her. She is easily believable as the strong yet at times powerless heroine. She delivers her selfless, "All For Laura" with a genuine conviction that will be hard for you to forget. Angela Christian's Anne Catherick, is a perfect blend of the ethereal and the earthly. She goes from sweetly sad and lost to the edge of sanity in the opening sequence. She delivers real vocal pyrotechnics, and is destined to haunt both the West End and Broadway for years to come. Jill Paice as the hapless Laura, has a wonderful voice though at times she seems at the limits of her vocal range, her acting ability is never in doubt. Oliver Darley as the villain, Sir Percival Glyde, is suitably slick in his almost too smooth tenor. Martin Crewes, as the hero Walter, is wonderful in the poignant "Evermore Without You."
Though the musical book is considerably changed from the Wilkie Collins tome, I feel many of the changes are improvements on an often rambling, too many charactered, sometimes unfocussed original. The fact that it first appeared as a monthly serial is obvious. (I apologize to all who feels this is the first classic mystery.) But I don't think the ending of the original is shocking enough for today's audiences to warrant a 140 minute search for the "secret." This CD will not let you down nor will it ever let you go. And like Mr. Crawford's voice, it gets better with age.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 28 January 2006
Andrew Lloyd Webber and the really useful company have delivered a new theatrical display and album really worth watching as well as listening to.
The woman in white sound track cointains what will and has become "cornerstone" pieces of Andrew Lloyds Webber's collection notably "I believe my heart" and "All for Laura."
I'd recommend going to watch the theatrical performance before listening to the CD as it will probably enhance your enjoyment and appreciation of the music. That said, if you are into Andrew Lloyd Webbers music typically then you won't regret purchasing this CD.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 21 November 2004
Being a great fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber I couldn't wait to hear his new musical. When the CD finally arrived I put it into my CD-player with great anxiety and when I heard the opening cords and the intoxicating "Woman in white" leitmotif I was certain that the score is one of Webber's finest! Everything works as a whole, music switches from the opulent harmonies of "I believe my heart" to the heart gripping dissonance of "The holly and the ivy". It is certainly a triumph of musicality and I can plainly profess that "The woman in white" will haunt you forever!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 16 November 2004
I saw the show in preview and couldn't wait for the album to be released. It has some of ALW's best melodies in years, especially 'I Believe My Heart' and 'Ever More Without You.' But there's much more that's great here - like a lot of his music, you need to listen a few times and let it sink in. Then it grabs you like nothing else. The lyrics are pretty good too - the best he's had since Tim Rice (if you exclude TS Elliott!)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I bought this on the strength of Maria Friedman, what a voice,I thought with her and Lloyd Webber it wouldnt be too bad,I wasn't dissapointed, have played it non stop,the music great,the story great,the singing superb, Maria puts over a song like no other,if your not into musicals buy this and listen to "All for Laura" you'll be knocked out just like I was,that song alone was well worth the cost of the cd.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 20 October 2004
I just saw this fantastic show last night, and I must say, I was blown away by the amazing set, the lyrics, the beautiful music, and the raw passion of the cast. I'd recommend it to everyone, and I hope this becomes another mega-musical like Phantom and CATS.
If you can't get a ticket (the show is sold out well into next year) buy this CD, and if you've seen it, I know you'll buy it anyway. :)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 22 November 2004
A fantastic production with brilliant score. Haunting and atmospheric, moody and emotional. Love it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 19 February 2006
As a big fan of other Lloyd-Webber musicals, I just had to see this at the theatre. The music was amazing, and had me hooked first time. This soundtrack brings back many happy memories of seeing the show - and is also one of Lloyd-Webber's finest musicals, to be rated up there with Phantom!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 30 January 2005
Saw the show in December and thought it was excellent. Not as major a spectacular as Phantom, Les Mis or Sunset but for me it was such a 'complete' musical. True I couldnt hum many tunes on exit but why is this so many people's measure of a musical. Are they the same people that only buy Greatest Hits albums rather than give new albums by artists a chance to grow on them...and grow this does. The recurring melodies are stunning and haunting and it is great to have the complete recording, to divide it into 'songs' would lose so much. Whilst never having read the book I loved this story which carries the whole show along and couldnt wait to find out know the 'secret'. I think the lyrics convey the story superbly. I cant get this off my CD player and each time it ends I feel as though Ive just come out of the theatre again. If you cant allow music to grow on you and appreciate it over time then dont buy this-buy the Mamma Mia soundtrack instead. Also, I think this would make an excellent film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 November 2004
I'm a loyal ALW fan and I had read 'The Woman In White' before receiving this soundtrack (I'm not seeing until February). I like to think that I am not biased however since I do dislike some ALW musicals (Evita, Aspects Of Love). The books plot and twists are very much superior. Characters are knocked out, secrets are completely different, questions are left unanswered and the Villains are portrayed the wrong way round. This is to be expected if to be cut down into 20 songs yes? Yes it is. But before I continue let me tell you to read the book, for what really knocks a star off my score is how Count Fosco and Marian Halcombe are portrayed. Not a weakness to Mr. Crawfords (that man is so brilliant) part but on the script. It's frustrating to find that the most complex and brilliant villian to hit literature is not given the recognition of being so in this musical. Marian! Poor Marian! The strongest heroine ever is made out to be rather pathetic. What a shame! People that have the read the books don't understand my complaint here so I'll let it be.

Now then, the cast isn't perfect. I can't put my finger on it but (and I know people are going to throw stones at me for saying this) but Maria Friedman seems so out of place sometimes, she has a tendancy to over do it, having said that she shines in 'All For Laura' a sincerely moving siloquy. Who cast Angela Christian and Michael Crawford (got a hunch that ALW himself did that) deserves a medal. Michael, a lovely comedian from 'Some Mothers Do Have 'Em' shows off his roots in this role. I didn't like it when I first heard of him playing the part but he is always full of surprises, our phantom. If you don't laugh at his 'You Can Get Away With Anything' (the bonus track version) you are not going to laugh at anything this musical offers. He is hilarious. Second is the wonderful Angela Christian. As someone that has read of Anne Catherick in great detail to her characterization Angela Christian has her down to a 't'. She has that ill, wary, mysterious voice which sends chills down your spine just as she did down Walters when they first met. I'm so immensely happy with her casting, its just a shame she does not appear much. Other main characters give me no reason for praise but no reason to complain.

The songs themselves have their ups and downs. 'I Believe My Heart', the song chosen to promote the musical is actually weak (though the single version is not). 'Lammastide' has absolutely nothing to do with the story but I felt the need for it here, it's just a chance for the cast to get together and to cheer the audience up a bit (did I mention it's not a happy musical?) it's a great feel good song, it's one of my favourites. 'All For Laura' is this Musicals answer to 'Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again'. It has the fluent emotional texture and is a song I'm looking forward to hear live. The 'Act One Finale' is great because the three female leads singing together and has a beautiful melody. When they are interrupted Angela Christian provides us with a chilling dramatic moment. As I have said before the other memorable song is 'You Can Get Away With Anything' (I think it's worthy noting he doesnt get away with it in the book so don't take that philosophy to heart children).

The lyrics are nothing special. The words are not what carry the emotions of the musical but the performances. David Zippel does have some wit about him though and he at least carried the story out though he left vital information out (not a lot just one vital point or two). ALWs music expertise isn't consistent through out however he has his songs that pulls at your heart strings.

My main point about this musical IS Michael Crawford and Angela Christian. Get tickets now, don't miss out on seeing them, they may just be the make or break of you enjoying this musical.
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