‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ live in concert review
By Sonam Kaloti, Arts Editor
Jack Skellington and the rest of The Nightmare Before Christmas crew put on a good show at the Rio Theatre in Vancouver on October 26 and 27. The show, which was performed by the Geekenders, featured a 10-peice orchestra. Costume design was done by Shayan Naziripour and musical direction and arrangements by Matt Grinke.
The stage appeared to be a little too small for both the orchestra and the actors, but they somehow made do by allowing each other as much space as possible. It was almost incredible how much was fit onto the stage, including props. The set included decorated boxes used for many things such as seats and tables. Oogie Boogie’s dice flew around the stage many times. Carved pumpkins were flickering throughout the show, outlining the stage. Lighting was superb, adding a lot to the tone of the performance. The colours used were perfect representations of Halloween, but I especially enjoyed the beautiful warm tones used for acts set in Christmas Town. The backdrop was a projection of screencaps from the movie itself to provide setting and understanding for the audience—a bit corny but I’m sure it was appreciated for clarity, especially for the children in the audience.
Costumes, however, were mediocre overall, though some were better than others depending on the character. Jack Skellington’s costume was wonderfully tailored and was almost an exact replica of the movie. However, Sally’s costume was worse than some of the homemade ones worn by people in the audience. Oogie Boogie’s costume had a unique flair to it, with the potato sack material turned into a fashionable dress with lime green tulle underneath. The costume design brought in fun aspects of the movie well, one instance being the mayor’s turning head. The head was represented by a hat which was flipped around and around again by the actor.
It was clear that many of the actors were perhaps not very experienced; either that or they just did not fit the bill for certain characters. Sally in particular was a disappointment. While the movie version depicts her as being a likeable, relaxed character, the play version had an unexpected edge and was kind of annoying. Sally was also far too floppy. We get it, you’re a rag doll… you can stop flopping around after the first five minutes (but she didn’t).
My favourites were Jack Skellington and the mayor. Their voices were almost the exact same as the movie, which was impressive and almost a little scary because it was so realistic. The voice acting held a great deal of expression, yet never became too much. Their actions were grand and reflected the characters perfectly.
Overall, I’m impressed with the show and glad I got to see it in all its glory. It’s moments like these that I am grateful the Rio is still around. As demonstrated by this show, the Halloween spirit is alive and well in theatre.