Broadway royalty, six time Tony award winner Audra McDonald has finally graced the West End with her presence, her grace and her stunning performance as Billie Holiday. The show follows one of Billie Holiday’s last performances before her death in 1959. In this two hour show, McDonald completely inhabits the spirit and voice of Billie Holiday in this fantastic presentation of her back catalogue. McDonald is known for her incredible, operatic voice from appearing in shows like Carousel, Porgy & Bess and the 2017 live action remake of Beauty and the Beast. But when she opened her mouth, her voice had been stripped of any trace of Audra and just completely grasped the jazzy notes of Billie Holiday.
The Wyndham’s theatre has been transformed into a 1950’s nightclub, with most of the stalls taken out and replaced with tables, onstage seating and a three piece band. James Noone’s set design creates the intimacy it intends, I was sat in the Grand Circle and still felt like she was telling her life story to me. Lanie Robertson’s script interweaves Billie Holiday’s back catalogue with stories from her past that add layers to the songs she’s performing.
Director Lonny Price has created a wonderful, atmospheric piece of theatre that is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Audra McDonald’s performance is one for the history books and the best I’ve seen this year. Lady Day is truly a theatrical experience and I’m so glad the production finally made it’s way across the pond to London. Go and see it.
For tickets and more information please visit https://www.delfontmackintosh.co.uk/tickets/lady-day/index.php. Lady Day is currently running at the Wyndham’s Theatre until September 9th.
Until next time,