ALFIE BOE: ON THE WHEELS OF A DREAM follows the world-famous tenor as he attempts to crossover from the world of opera to contemporary rock
It’s fair to say that Alfie Boe certainly knows how to belt out a tune. Since his rendition of BRING HIM HOME at the 2010 LES MISERABLES 25th Anniversary performance at the O2 Arena, the singer’s career has grown from strength to strength, leading to four top ten albums, a sell-out 2013 UK tour and over one million album sales to his name. But while the Blackpool-born singer is best known for his roles in opera and musical theatre, Boe actually wants to pursue a secret passion as Lisa Edwards’ latest documentary reveals – rock music.
ALFIE BOE: ON THE WHEELS OF A DREAM follows the world-famous tenor as he attempts to crossover from the niche world of opera and musical theatre to contemporary pop and rock. The 56 minute documentary follows Boe and his band during his 2012/2013 tour as he attempts to break the mould and reach new heights. It features concert footage alongside candid interviews with Boe, his family, his management team and his loyal fans.
The part biography, part concert film opens with home videos of Boe as child as the Tony award winning singer expresses his love for music. The 43 year old reveals how he always wanted to be a rock star and would love to break through the stereotypes of music to sing any genre. The problem is that since his roles in LES MISERABLES and LA BOHEME, Boe has essentially been typecast as an opera singer and attempting to find a broader audience comes with the risk of alienating the fans he already has.
There’s no doubt that Boe is clearly a staggering musical talent. The film’s concert footage showcases his tremendous musical range as he reaches out to pop audiences on tours of the UK, America and Canada. It also doesn’t shy away from showing the struggles, disappointment and stress of Boe’s challenge, leading to a rare and intimate portrait of the singer both as an artist and a person.
Yet despite this, the film appears to lack any real focus. While the subject of Boe attempting to ‘break’ America and crossover into a new musical genre is clearly the aim of the piece, it fails to make the most of it. At times, the subject feels stretched and overextended and the interview footage with Boe and his management team discussing those challenges tends to get a little repetitive at times.
Disappointingly, when piece actually does go deeper and Boe begins to open up about his fears, it isn’t explored to its full extent. One example of this is when Boe speaks about a painful part of his career after the success of LA BOHEME. The singer talks about how he hit rock bottom and was left without work for almost a year but the interview clip is kept short and the subject quickly moves on, leaving you hanging and wanting to know more.
That said, the film does make strides in showing the true man behind the voice and Boe’s passion for music and his ability connect with audiences around the world is clearly evident in the footage.
The Opening Night Gala of ALFIE BOE: ON THE WHEELS OF A DREAM made its World Premiere at the 2017 Manchester Film Festival on 2 March 2017.