Review by REY GONZALEZJune 23, 2019 certified reviewer
What I liked
Since I heard about “The London Rose” in November of 2018. Since I had hopes in being able to see the show. Luckily I saw The London Rose on June 23rd, 2019. I fell in love with everyone in the entire cast. I am happy to say how original and real the show is. [Note I promise this review will be Spoiler Free.]
I very much love the relations with Rosanna (Ember Everett) and Edward (Oliver Rotunno). They both clearly feel each others’ energy from one another and it definitely shows towards the audience. I also enjoy how very well paced the scenes are. There was never a moment where any of the scenes were dragged or seemed unimportant. I found Lee (Leo Ayala) very hilarious in all his scenes. The Father (Robert W. Laur) is amazing. His overall performance was so welcoming and enjoyable to watch. John Collins (James Thomas Miller), besides Rosanna and Edward, I was so intrigued by his character. Again no spoilers but the way the writer (Mia E. Cotton) wrote this character is so interesting and of course the actor plays it so well in making him handsome and charming, yet almost snobby, though violent, but very sympathetic.
The ensemble (Analyse Gutierrez, Brain Caelleigh, Evelyn-Rose Whitlock, Sarah Clingenpeel, Jennifer Blair Horne, Max Mahle, Andrew John Morrison, Julia Jayne) all were fantastic. I enjoy very much of how every single ensemble in this cast have there own unique personality. Though whenever there will be dialogue with the leads the ensemble in the back always have their own story or conversation. Analyse Gutierrez herself in the beginning of the opening you can immediately tell what kind of person she is. Proper and flair. Evelyn-Rose Whitlock her characters are so different from each other. Her character in the opening is so charming and youthful, and her character in the end of Act one looks so beautiful and elegant. Again everyone in the ensemble have their own personalities and its amazing. Though to some may think this sounds like there’s too much personality or that it could steal the main plot, I say it is the right amount and it never feels distracting at all. Moments with the ensemble are so special in their own way. Their own trait that they put in their characters fills the stage and keeps the scene live when they’re on stage.
The music and lyrics are beautiful. Mia E. Cotton. The opening was already in my head even after it finished. This is my first experience in listening to Mia’s music and lyrics and I will say that it is so beautiful of how much they both have emotions. Similar to Stephen Sondheim by how the lyrics don’t feel forced into a rhyme. The words in “Me Now,” Probably Nothing," and “Happy” to name a few, the words alone are so beautiful and real. They all feel very conversational. And in just the music, it flows with whatever emotion is happening. Whenever there was a happy moment the music reflected that and even when the sudden emotions, it reflected on that very effectively. The 11 o’clock song is so gorgeous and emotional and I want to say how beautiful Oliver Rotunno did. Clearly can see the real emotions he puts on and I tip my hat for you. Leo Ayala has an amazing voice and it really shows. Ember Everett’s presence is so amazing. Very witty and funny she is with the way she presents herself and in her voice and expressions. And how she presents her character of how she feels in her beliefs and how she changes by the end is so real. Another thing about Mia’s Music is how wonderful she uses Motifs. There were so much sudden motifs in the show that I loved hearing. The finale song will make you cry with emotions.
The harmony by the cast was beautiful. Analyse’s Soprano voice is phenomenal, Leo’s tenor is so clear. I also want to mention the accents in the show. I am not personally an expert with accents or dialects, but I was impressed with the way the entire cast sounded. I will also say the Lighting (Jillian Riti, Andrew Tooley, and Peter Zucchero) was very effective in the emotional scenes. The fight/intimate choreography (Mel Glickman and Julie Ouellette) did a great job. The dance Choreography (Nikki Knupp) did a wonderful job with the dance numbers. The opening has this special choreography as the ensemble were singing and it just put a smile on my face.
What I didn't like
I think what could be improved would be the scene changes. There were only a few but some of the scene changes were a little slow. And the other is just more projection. There were only a few times when I couldn’t hear the lines from the characters but it didn’t throw off anything.
My overall impression
I know this review is very long but my overall is come see the show while you still can. It’s definitely worth to see. It’s story and message is relevant and so original. I have hopes that this show goes somewhere. I already a cast recording lol.
I also want to say thank you to Ember Everett, Cooper Knight, Laurie Payton, everyone in the production (including the people from the workshops),The Hollywood Fringe Festival, The Actors Company, and of course Mia E. Cotton for writing this beautiful original and most important Real show. Seeing you playing the piano for the show was also something beautiful. Just on how you play with passion alone shows how beautiful and important it is for you and all people who could relate to this. PS I love that Sondheim reference, still don’t know if it was intentional but I laughed and love it!