The creators of this spoof are not sending up Hamlet, but the West End Musical... Silverman, the composer, is a master of pastiche, at one point conflating five Cameron Mackintosh shows. The poisoning drama is a mashup of Puccini, Mozart, Offenbach and Gilbert and Sullivan - Spot the Tune is good sport... balancing clever music and lyrics with a rackety look and dodgy dancing, it pretends to be nothing but fun. And so it is: it won me round, all the way to the big songsheet finale.
The Times on Hamlet! the Musical
Clever composer Alex Silverman provides a terrific toe-tapping score, borrowing wittily and often...
Who’d have guessed Shakespeare could be so laugh out loud funny or provide so much to sing about?
Attitude on Hamlet! the Musical
The absurdly clever and the seriously silly sit side by side...the score, with its knowing winks at other musicals, is rather good, and there is wit as well as silliness in the lyrics.
Guardian on Hamlet! the Musical
There is a genuine musical intelligence at play here that elevates this into something special... It is through-sung but every song is an integral part of the story-telling - there really is no filler here and this allows the range of influences from which they draw inspiration from to shine through, whether it’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, the astoundingly brilliant Die Fledermousetrap which incorporates numerous famous operatic tunes or the show-stopping Act 1 closer– a song that could seriously win Eurovision.
Ought To Be Clowns on Hamlet! the Musical
Actually, the soundtrack deserves a full-length review all of its own... All the music you hear in the show – beyond Marilyn Monroe’s I Want to be Loved by You, including the cover of I Know it’s Over was recorded specially for the show. And it’s great. The music is also brilliantly mixed into the overall soundscape of the piece – with clattering guitars fading in and out of the sound of cities at night.
Postcards from the Gods on Lulu
The lighting and sound are beautiful; you almost don’t notice the noise creeping up in volume, until it is threateningly loud, insistent, nerve-wracking... the pace was nicely judged, the performances nuanced and absorbing, and the production harrowing and thought-provoking.
A Younger Theatre on Faith Healer
What the papers
(and the blogs) say:
'A wonderful hour of musical mayhem’
The List on Cloudcuckooland
'Quasi-exotic musical interludes... energetic and engaging' - Manchester Evening News on Comedy of Errors
'Supernatural-seeming shards of sound, incantatory chants and whispers' - Time Out on Richard III
“Such different tones abound in a production of mongrel vigour… the sparse score that survives is here interpolated upon further by both Michael Nyman -who provides a pulsating new aria - and Alex Silverman, whose arrangements for piano, bass and sax are the show's greatest asset.It comes out like a set of peculiarly beautiful jazz standards, while losing none of the original's wilful variety or dramatic rhythm.”
Evening Standard on Poppea
“It isn't a giant leap from Baroque figured bass to jazz. Yet to recompose an entire 17th-century opera in a jazz idiom as convincingly as Alex Silverman did with Monteverdi's Poppea showed incredible skill... I never once lost faith in the plausibility of his musical language. The music wafting up from the tiny jazz trio tucked away in the corner of the King's Head Theatre was doing a Shere Khan. "Trust in me!" it hissed seductively. And I did.”
The Artsdesk on Poppea
A jazz-infused Monteverdi opera takes some getting used to, but in this case it’s worth the effort. Alex Silverman’s orchestration of The Coronation of Poppea for soprano saxophone, double bass and piano is quirky but doesn’t tread too heavily on the composer’s toes. It is well suited to playwright Mark Ravenhill’s modern staging for OperaUpClose... The jazzy facelift enhances the overall effect, making Monteverdi’s slinky melodies sound all the more seductive.
FT on Poppea
The strumming of a ukulele gives the dreamy opulence of a twenties summer garden party. This theme continues with the masked dandy fairies in tailcoats with cigarette holders and incidental Charleston music and singing… this was luxury travelling theatre with some impressive performances.
Stage on Midsummer Night’s Dream
Children will not only find the scenery alluring... a praiseworthy implementation of music is enough to keep them captivated and make the seemingly dense language accessible.
Whatsonstage on Comedy of Errors
It's the soundworld – awash with strange noises and rhythmic tides – that strikes you...in voices which sometimes sing, speak, chant and semi-sing, lurk rich emotional registers.
Guardian on Agamemnon