On The Piste "ÃÂ notes Acting Voice "ÃÂ¢ The vocal quality of the majority of the actors was very good and all the lines spoken were clear, precise and understandable.
"ÃÂ¢ However the character of Bev had a very irritating high pitched voice that could have been toned down, as it ended up being extremely harsh to listen to and put a lot of people off the play, especially during the scene where she was trying to descend the ski slope, with Dave at the bottom and all she did for 10 minutes was shout "DAVE!!!"ÃÂ or cry. The director could have seen this and got the actress to tone down her voice so it was a little more leasing to the ear, but still maintained its irritating quality, which was important to the personality of the character.
"ÃÂ¢ The accent of Tony, which was Austrian, was kept authentic throughout and the actor portrayed the Austrian nature of the character very well, even pronouncing certain English words wrong.
Movement The movement of the play was quite well choreographed, and the basic rules were all obeyed, i.e. the actors did not block etc. However what I really found was done very well was the movement, or lack of it during the scene changes, as in certain scenes, when the ski slope was rotated after a scene on them, the actors froze in skiing positions as the staged moved. Also when the characters entered on the stage in the skiwear, they turned to the audience using 90o ski jumps, which really emphasised the acting style and how they were actually acting to the audience.
Interpretation of Character The characters were all portrayed reasonable well, but the character of Bev was done particularly well, although her tone of voice was somewhat annoying, the acting and interpretation of the character was done exceptionally well, with the actor really making it obvious to the audience that Bev was one of the most annoying people on earth and at times, you really did want to strangle her. The interpretation of Chris was also very good and the scenes where he found out about his wife's affair were brilliant, although I felt the character did shout much too much. Another scene in which Chris excelled was the scene in which ABBA burst out of the back of the stage, the way he acted his obsession with Mel was brilliant. One character which I feel was not done very well was the character of Dave, as I felt that he was too linear, and could only act the character out in one way, as when he succeeded in doing something, he could only respond with stereotypical actions, where as the other characters used stereotypes, but also developed their own individual character, and it was only at the very last scene that he managed to even start developing his own personal qualities.
Relationships The relationships, or rather the breaking down of them was portrayed very well, as you really knew why Dave wanted out with Bev (she was too annoying, by the end even the audience wanted her dead!) and the tosses and turns of Alison and Chris's relationships were acted out brilliantly. With the scenes where Chris was fantasising about Mel being some of the best scenes in the play. The relationship between Tony and Mel was also portrayed brilliantly, with their flirting being very funny.
Performance Qualities Overall, the quality of the play was very good, and the director and actors managed to achieve a high level of satirical quality in the play that suited its style, with moments of slapstick comedy adding yet more humour to an already extremely funny production. There were only a few places in which this performance quality was substandard, one of the more noticeable times being when Chris mucked up his lines in such a way that they had to stop and do it again. However, the actors were of a sufficient quality to be able to react to this and handle the situation in a way that kept the comical style of the play.
Design Set The set design for On The Piste was brilliant/ as we walked into the theatre, there was a set set out for us that included the outside of a ski lodge, however from the moment the house lights went down, the scenery changed constantly and the set designer managed to get about 8 different sets, using only the revolving hill and the front of the ski lodge. The whole set was on a revolving circle in the middle of the stage, which meant we could have scenes of the ski slopes, followed directly by a scene inside the sauna.
Lighting and Colour Quality The lighting design in On the Piste was very simple, and not many effects were used, apart from one scene where ABBA appeared on stage, where the lighting took on the quality of a disco. Good use was made of gobos lighting the side of the stage with a dapples tree effect to emphasise the trees surrounding the ski lodge. The colour quality was very good, with a lot of blue being used in the background. Also on the ski slope scenes, bright white lights reflected on the white set to give a very bright effect mirroring that of an actual ski slope.
Music and Sound The main feature of the music and sound in the play was the use of ABBA songs in the play. These were used at a lot of scene changes and usually reflected the mood of the play at the time. However the best ABBA moment in the play was when they appeared out of the back of the ski lodge to sing live when Chris was fantasising about Mel. This was an absolutely brilliant part and when mixed with Chris' actions produced some of the funniest moments in a play that I have seen for a long time.
Costumes The costumes were all authentic to the setting of the play, and also all matched the characters. For example Bev wore a bright yellow all-in-one ski suit, which matched her personality totally. Also the costumes, especially during the indoor scenes, changed as the play went on and the characters developed, an example of this is how at the end of the play, Alison is wearing a very glamorous outfit, however she would have never done that in the beginning.