Reviewed on 31st May 2017
The Braille Legacy is a musical with great production value and in many regards is wonderful to watch however The Braille Legacy is let down in a core area for a musical that is also a great strength for the show at times which makes it disappointing to see lose its sight on greatness at the last post.
The music in a musical undoubtedly is a very important element for a production at the core for success which is where The Braille Legacy succeeds so much but is let down at the end. The music composed by Jean-Baptiste Saudray begins in a very fine fashion with typical musical writing and with a strong sense of French origin and Baroque stylizing is wonderful adding a real sense of originality to it. The music that follows is equally as charming with wonderful melodic qualities that carries through with solid motif technique, the problem that occurs with this is the repetition of these motifs. This should be perfectly acceptable in normal quantities but The Braille Legacy really pushes with delivering the same motifs in exactly the same instrumentation and gives the same color every time which leaves the music wonderfully melodic but loses the sharp punch and emotional impact that makes this music wonderful. Another concern for the music is the choice of keys for all the music that feels very similar and limited given the wide range of color and emotion that different keys allow a composer to display, these flaws are something I wish were not present in the production that takes all this melodic music and is performed with passion and great quality.
Quality is something that does not lack in the other elements of the production particularly in the casting choices with the whole company very well performed with stand out performances from Jack Wolfe and Jérôme Pradon in their roles as Louis Braille and Doctor Pignier who are wonderfully believable and filled with emotional depth that is fantastic to see. In particular Jack Wolfe has a great voice that is wonderfully controlled with a very caring performance of a blind man that is impressive to see in a performer making their professional debut. The story for The Braille Legacy follows Louis Braille’s journey to be able to read books as easily as anyone who can see and the production does a very compelling job of showcasing the treatment and conditions of those effected during the time period of Nineteenth Century Paris that the cast do an extremely great job of supporting on stage.
The set is a very wonderful addition to the production with a very large revolving building that can be seen through as it twists around, this design by Tim Shortall is made more impressive by the Charing Cross Theatre itself that is a quite small stage and by the set revolving when needed movement for actors becomes very easy and fluid with the different angles the set creates very charming and smart. The design is reminiscent of the original Sweeny Todd production which is certainly a great compliment.
Overall The Braille Legacy has a lot of elements I can praise from the charming set to the wonderful performances all around. The music for The Braille Legacy carries a great blend of different sources and carries a lot of weight to wow audiences yet by the end through a lack of transformation and different colour this weight becomes more muffled when it hits audiences. The Braille Legacy is filled with charm and is magical at times but sadly loses the ability to be truly special by the end which is a big disappointment for a show that was a cusp away from greatness.
Star Rating: 3/5