ENTERTAINMENT

[Herald Review] Musical ‘Gone with the Wind’ falls short

By 줄리 잭슨 (Julie Jackson)
  • Published : Nov 26, 2015 - 17:18
  • Updated : Nov 26, 2015 - 17:18

Undeniably the entertainment world’s most recognized tale of torrid love and romance, the epic war tale from the 1930s, “Gone with the Wind,” is one of the most beloved and enduring classics.

The Korean-language musical rendition of this literary and cinematic masterpiece has made its way back to the Seoul stage, only this time, without the lure of flashy K-pop idols in starring roles.

Although nowhere near the historic caliber of Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel turned 10-time Academy Award-winning film, the 2 1/2-hour musical production still manages to stay true to the essence of the original script. 

A scene from the “Gone with the Wind” musical (Yonhap News)
Amid the backdrop of the American Civil War, the story follows the life of southern belle Scarlett O’Hara. As a beautiful and posh young woman, she does not need to go out of her way for attention -- every man who sets eyes on her becomes completely spellbound.

However, such vanity-filled fortune has its costs, as the one man Scarlett desperately wants -- Ashley Wilkes -- is hopelessly in love with another woman. Shattered by the news of Ashley’s engagement to Melanie, Scarlett meets the dashing and wealthy Rhett Butler, but she is torn between her love for the two men.

Wednesday afternoon’s performance starred Kim Ji-woo as Scarlett, Shin Sung-woo as Rhett and Jung Sang-yoon as Ashley. However, the trio’s lack of sensual chemistry onstage led to a less-than-stellar reprisal of this iconic narrative of love and war. Although, Kim’s progressively mature portrayal of Scarlett was the applause-worthy glue that kept the show afloat.

At first, Kim’s reenactment of the young doting Scarlett in the opening scenes was, at times, painfully unpleasant. With her high-pitched screeching voice and cringingly cutesy demeanor, the audience was left scratching their head wondering why any guy would ever fall for such a girl.
But as the scenes progressed, Kim managed to burst out of the all-too-familiar dainty bubble gum pop girl image that we’ve come to expect from TV soap operas. In the midst of a tragic war, the actress was able to beautifully capture Scarlett’s newfound maturity, sacrificing her innate desires for the betterment of others.

It is only then we begin to understand and truly empathize with Scarlett’s desperation for earnest love and affection. Without this, Rhett’s infamous, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn,” line before parting ways with Scarlett would have been a wasted gesture. 

Overall, where the musical lacks in emotional chemistry amongst the triangle leads, it makes up for it in solo performances.

Originally a French musical produced by Dove Attia and Albert Cohen in 2003, with music and lyrics by Gerard Presgurvic, the Korean rendition also stars Bada and Kim So-hyun as Scarlett; Nam Kyoung-joo, Kim Beop-rae and Yun Hyung-ryeol  as Rhett; and Enoch and Sohn Jun-ho as Ashley.

“Gone with the Wind” will be staged at the Charlotte Theater in Seoul until Jan. 31. Ticket prices range from 50,000 won ($43.50) to 140,000 won. For more information call 1544-3363.

By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)