Reviews

Christmas Carol

“Eberneezerly the best Scrooge! This is a glorious and spectacular new staging by director Nikoai Foster with a rollicking script by Bryony Lavery. Indeed, Lavery’s adaptation could become the standard musical version of Dicken’s short story. Why not? It’s got everything: it’s original but still faithful to Dickens, and it’s supported by a string of genuinely toe-taping songs by Jason Carr.” Patrick Marmion, Daily Mail *****

“Bryony Lavery’s new adaptation at the Birmingham Rep nails the intrinsic horror of a life gone bitterly wrong. [...]Nikolai Foster’s slick, well-populated production [...] grasps the essential perturbing spirit of the original. [...] Everything flows together like a childhood nightmare; even carols bleed into each other in Jason Carr’s superbly intelligent, fertile score. [...] Peter Polycarpou is spot-on as Scrooge[...]. Recommended.” Dominic Cavendish, Daily Telegraph ****

“This is a particularly haunting version of the Dickens classic. [...] Nikolai Foster’s production, deftly blending the thrilling and the poignant, is deliciously spine-tingling — and made more captivating by Jason Carr’s sophisticated score. At times the music recalls Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. It doesn’t attempt that work’s complexity, but it has a similar restless, minor-key unease; and the presence of Lavery’s uncanny onlookers, the murky urban setting and the tale’s theme of social inequality also mirror Sondheim’s fable. There are lighter sequences too; the Fezziwigs’ party ushers in a number as bouncily “oom-pah” as anything by Lionel Bart, and Nick Winston’s heel-kicking, witty choreography rises to such occasions with alacrity.

The show is as stuffed full of memorable cameo performances as a pudding with plums [...] Peter Polycarpou[...] is a persuasive Scrooge [...] Lavery’s adaptation, the production and Polycarpou all employ an emotional directness that chimes as clear as Christmas bells with the compassion of Dickens’ novel. This is a Carol to make even confirmed Scrooges sing.” Sam Marlowe, The Times ****

The Rep’s spectacular production draws on every element of the Victorian ghost story and its attendant morality [...] Nothing has been spared to create the atmosphere. [...] Jason Carr’s music and lyrics are strong and memorable. The sharp focus and uncluttered nature of the whole thing precludes over-sentimentality and avoids clichés [...]

Scrooge [...]is [...]finely portrayed by Peter Polycarpou. It feels like a cast of thousands sometimes but there are just 13 of them in this versatile ensemble and that’s probably the greatest triumph of all. Pat Ashworth, The Stage

Ring Around The Moon

Ring Around The Moon “[Colin Richmond’s] sumptuous frocks [...] Jason Carr's score, inspired by the tango and French cabaret music, and Wayne McGregor's elegant dance routines [...] capture the play's distinctive Gallic mood in which style, wit and moments verging on farce are accompanied by an undertow of melancholy.” Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph

Sunday in the Park with George

Sunday in the Park With George Composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim himself has described Jason’s new orchestration as superlative.

The score’s lush melodies and chromatic feverishness sound ravishing ... Sam Marlowe, The Times

Musical director Caroline Humphris and a talented band do Jason Carr’s orchestrations proud for what is a much recommended production. Lisa Martland, The Stage

Six Pictures of Lee Miller

Poster Image - Photo Clare Park Jason Carr's music and lyrics are busily inventive and the show is done with great brio [...] there is much in the show to savour. Carr's score has a darting, feverish urgency that reminded me of Sondheim [...] Anthony van Laast's production whisks us crisply through the decades, and Sue Blane's design, with its solarised back-canvas, evokes the impending burnout in Miller's life. And Anna Francolini is remarkable as Miller: she gives us the heroine's caustic wit, erotic zest and spiritual restlessness. Michael Billington, The Guardian

Under Anthony Van Laast’s direction the action moves swiftly and smoothly and enhanced by Jason Carr’s score, which is played superbly by a five piece orchestra, making it more operatic than your average musical [...] Anna Francolini is a superbly beautiful Lee Miller – a view endorsed by Lee’s granddaughter Ami - and [...] Now that I have discovered Lee Miller I need to know more. I now feel I have to read the book and visit the farm - it’s that sort of show! Sheila Ann Connor, Whatsonstage.com

[...] infinitely more alluring than most of the mindless jukebox musicals that have cluttered up the West End for so long. Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph

Three Women and a Piano Tuner

Three Women Poster Image - Photo Clare Park [...] now comes this superb new play by Helen Cooper in the Minerva. It's an astonishing piece—witty, emotionally raw and deeply affecting—that leaves you gasping at the imaginative ingenuity of the dramatist's central conceit.

[...] It receives a strikingly deft production from Samuel West, stylishly designed by Ashley Martin-Davis and with music by Jason Carr that gives a strong impression of Ella's atmospheric [piano] concerto. Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph

The Water Babies Click for photos

Water Babies Poster Image - Photo: Clare Park This delightful musical adaptation at Chichester does justice to the piece's wild originality while also making it far more consumer-friendly to a present-day audience. [...] the whole show has a freshness and charm that should make it irresistible both to children and their parents.

[...] Jason Carr contributes terrific music and lyrics, with songs that range from the yearningly lyrical to vaudevillian knockabout, with the odd knowing nod to G & S and Sondheim. [...] The Water Babies is a treat, and, as well as being a delightful show for children, it strikes me as that rarest of phenomena—a genuinely successful new British musical [...] It must surely have a life beyond Chichester. Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph


Vivian Ellis Prize 1988

I am overwhelmed to hear a major talent emerge. Andrew Lloyd Webber

Born Again Click for photos

Born Again - Poster: Gerald Scarfe (The) score (is) as notable for its variety as its contemporary punch. Carr’s music is most itself when wind and percussion are energetically corkscrewing up and down the octaves; but he also injects hummable parodies of a torch song, a waltz, blues and even a madrigal, as well as rumbling rhino tunes. Benedict Nightingale, The Times

(Mandy Patinkin) is the ideal interpreter of Jason Carr’s music; a jaunty, spiky blend of affectionate musical parody and psychological comment. John Peter, The Sunday Times

(Jason Carr) saves the tunes for the second act, and they’re glorious when they come. Michael Kennedy, Glasgow Herald

Design For Living

This production, blessed with a splendidly lush and jazzy score by Jason Carr, is breathtakingly sexy. Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph

Les Parents Terribles

The tone and temperature of Cocteau’s hothouse is underpinned by Jason Carr’s excellent background music. Michael Coveney, Observer

Christmas Carol

Jason Carr’s score of carols and festive songs greatly adds to the pleasure of the evening. Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph

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