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Theatre review: Notre Dame de Paris breathes modern choreography and gothic-rock music into a literary favourite

By: Katie Roberts

 

Most people are familiar with the grim story of Quasimodo, the hunchback bell-ringer of Notre Dame Cathedral. It’s a love story that some equate with Romeo and Juliet because of the tragic ending, but 15th century Paris is a long way from Verona. As is this very contemporary staging of Vitor Hugo’s 1831 classic. On stage since 1998, this English language version (the original was French) is delivered brilliantly by the seven lead singers. But Quasimodo and Frollo (the priest tormented by his love for Esmerelda) are the standout voices.

Depicting the miserable conditions of vagrants eking out a living in the streets around  the Cathedral Notre Dame are the 24 singers, gymnasts and talented dancers in the supporting cast. Their contemporary dance routines are spectacular and utilise the clever set design. Without giving too much away, look out for the church bells which make an impressive stunt that shows off the dancers strength. A 12-metre high wall comes in handy for some highly energetic acrobatic moves that take the attention away from the woes of Quasimodo as he desperately pursues Esmerelda.

The sound was patchy in the first half, with the two female singers struggling to be heard and there were some feedback issues. But this was rectified by the second half, which is just as well as Esmerelda’s solo was powerful, especially when accompanied by superb lighting. 

See Notre Dame for the incredible dancing and acrobatics, the brilliant rock-gothic music, and the range of singing talent across the lead characters. We all know the plot is a bit miserable, but it’s a superb night of entertainment that will keep the audience transfixed. 

Notre Dame de Paris plays at the MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands, Grand Theatre until 5 January.

Book tickets and see more information here.

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