From Friday 26/05
Sydney Morning Herald:
Tina Arena musical panned by West End critics
London: Australian songstress Tina Arena has landed in London's West
End in an unenviable way, with the musical Notre Dame de Paris and
her leading role being widely panned after opening night.
'It's a crock, monsieur,' was the London Evening Standard's page
'It's just a hunch, but this is no Les Mis,' said the Times, in
another headline reminiscent of most daily papers' reviews.
Arena herself earned grudging praise for her Esmeralda from one or
two reviewers, but this was swamped by the negative.
'Now Miss Arena sings very nicely thank you,' said the Standard. 'But
she doesn't have the sexual charisma that warrants the abandonment of
most of Victor Hugo's story.'
'Much needs excusing,' the Times said, 'including a pretty
uninteresting leading lady.'
'She pitches into some nice numbers with plenty of brio ... but she
radiates little erotic dazzle and no gypsy danger.'
The Guardian remarked upon Arena only for the way she 'pouts
lasciviously', in a show which 'denies narrative, emotion, and human
contact: we just get cardboard cut-outs bawling at each other.'
The Telegraph commented on an 'entirely unthrilling' production, but
at least afforded the Australian star some praise in that she 'makes
a sexy, sultry, strong-voiced Esmeralda'.
The Express also found room for one glowing comment on Arena, saying
she had made a 'splendid' rendition of Live For The One I Love. But
the Independent spoke for many critics when it said: 'Everyone belts
out heartfelt numbers of pain and suffering but it's all so overblown
that it's impossible to care.'