It was a very odd show, rather like the book. There were 7 actors and a lot of doubling. The Mother and Other Mother were played by different people, as were the Father and Other Father. One of the thespian ladies was played by a man, as was the Other Mother. The title roll was played by a short, stout woman. It took about five minutes to get used to that, and it only took that long because my first assumption was that she was playing the Mother, so I had to mentally revise.
The stage was wonderful, lots of different levels, different chachkas, and several prepared pianos making all the sounds. We learned about that in the talk back. The sound of the Other Mother's hand was the hardest to do, apparently. It took a year before folks figured out how to do it. There was nothing to see, but the sound -- that hand moved around the stage in perfect synchronization with the plot, and the sound was very creepy, as was the sound of the house flattening.
A lot of the plot and narration from the book was either narrated or sung, some parts working better than others. The ghostly children were eerie handkerchief puppets.
The music director was asked about the odd casting decisions. He pointed out and he noted that the cast also plays rats, mice, and cats, so this isn't about hyperrealism.
Audience: And folks don't burst into songs.
Musical director: Right -- well, actually, in my life, they do.
I think they had to agree not to debut the musical while the movie was running. This was tricky to pull off because the movie date kept getting pushed back.
And, we learned that the musical is revised even now. Two new pages of music were done yesterday, and featured in tonight's performance. Alas, requests for a preview of this were turned down.
The one song that felt off to us was sung by the actor playing the Other Mother when the hand fell down the well. mnemex thought it was completely out of place, not least because the Other Mother wasn't there in any capacity that could sing. The cat sang only when it was in the Other House.
I didn't mind that so much. It seemed to me that the song about the hand falling was an over the top nod to "I'm melting!" from The Wizard of Oz movie. But, the song went on. And on. And... I know that this is the end of the major villain. I know that the Other Mother is played by the director, who is clearly having a ball. But this loooong song is entirely too self indulgent.
The musical director had originally thought to do a two act piece, with Coraline as one act, thinking it would be 45 minutes (ha! 90-100 minutes is what it ran, with not much that could be trimmed apart from the aforementioned song), and Wolves in the Walls as the other. But, someone beat him to doing Wolves in the Walls as a musical.