Tickets and more information: https://southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/show/the-rink/
Running until: 23rd June 2018
Production photos by: Darren Bell
The Southwark Playhouse’s production of Kander and Ebb’s roller skating musical The Rink is the first production to appear in London since it premiered in 1988. Although currently appearing in The Large space at the Southwark Playhouse, it is a bit of a downsize compared to a West End stage. Does this take away from the production? Absolutely not. Because this is a spectacular production of a stunning musical led by two incredible actress who carry the show with a lot of heart, humour and powerhouse vocals.
The Rink follows Anna who is about to sell her roller skating rink when her Angel turns up after leaving home seven years ago. Over the course of the show, the audience are transported to various flashbacks in both characters’ lives that led them to becoming the women they are. Fresh from her performance in Anastasia on Broadway, Caroline O’Connor stars as Anna and her daughter Angel is played by Gemma Sutton. Both actresses have impeccable chemistry together, their voices particularly shine on Act Two opener The Apple Doesn’t Fall (Very Far From The Tree). The use of flashback scenes in Terrance McNally’s book really adds to the time these two characters have spent apart. We get to see them disconnect and reconnect over the course of the show by being ferociously funny yet warmly sincere too.
Rounding out the cast are a group of actors who play the crew who plan to demolish the roller rink as well as playing people of importance to Anna and Angel’s past. They also come together to perform the best show stopping number in any musical I’ve seen this year. Fabian Aloise’s out of this world choreography in the title song blew my mind. Did you know it’s possible for people to tap dance on roller skates? I didn’t until now. And it works; it works SO well and actually stopped the show for a good couple of minutes due to rapturous applause at the performance I attended.
Adam Lenson’s production is honestly nothing short of astonishing. I’m running out of superlatives but this is a fantastic musical that, at the core of it, is a story about how the past helps us become the people we are in the present. And you do not want to miss it.
Until next time,