I hope you’re all managing to cope in isolation thus far. Before you know it, we’ll be back to the theatres in no time. In the mean time, I’m bringing you four shows that I caught before becoming a hermit that I really, really enjoyed.
The Last Five Years at the Southwark Playhouse.
One of my all time favourite musicals came back to London at one of my favourite venues. I was apprehensive at first because I LOVED the last London revival of this show at the St James Theatre (now called The Other Palace). Although, what did you expect from this Samantha Barks and Jonathan Bailey stan? But with director Jonathan O’Boyle at the helm, I was absolutely blown away by this production. The added actor/musician twist fitted in nicely and felt organic. Molly Lynch was a sensational Cathy and her voice is stunning. I absolutely loved her rendition of ‘A Summer In Ohio’, the entire staging of that song was so clever. Olly Higginson was an exquisite Jamie and has a voice to die for which was a complete surprise as there didn’t seem to be many musicals on his CV! I adored his rendition of The Schmuel Song, that was had very clever staging. I really, really loved it. I so hope this isn’t the last we see of this show.
Pretty Woman The Musical at the Piccadilly Theatre.
2 weeks before the entire world went to shit, I took my one of my best mates Lucy to see Pretty Woman The Musical as a birthday present. Now, I had seen the show on Broadway and loved it despite the horrific reviews. However, going into the West End production, I did wonder if I loved it on Broadway because of Samantha Barks and only loving it because she was in it. Happy to report, that I ended up loving the West End production as much as I loved it on Broadway. I would go one step further and say that the West End production is much more slicker. They’ve certainly made some improvements in the staging (Vivian gets a much better entrance in this production) and in some of the song lyrics. Aimie Atkinson is an amazing Vivian as is Danny Mac as Edward. I thought it was an interesting move by the production team to have Vivian and Edward be around the same age. Instead of Edward being much older than Vivian like in the movie, it puts both characters on a slightly more equal level. Honestly, it’s just pure good fun. Is it groundbreaking? No. But when a lot of theatre already does this, sometimes we just need to go out and have a fun time. And that’s what this musical provides.
The Welkin at the National Theatre.
Also known as, my favourite show that I’ve seen this year. Set in Suffolk in the 1700s, 12 women must decide whether an accused murderer’s pregnancy claims are true. Lucy Kirkwood’s writing is razor sharp, brutally honest and has it’s funny moments too. The entire cast were excellent and it was refreshing to see a cast that was 95% women. And not just skinny, white women either there was actually a proper diverse group of women on stage at one time. Iconic. Unfortunately the play’s run was cut short due to the coronavirus but I really hope the National Theatre bring the show back to give the run a proper send off. If not, I highly recommend picking up the play text.
City of Angels @ Garrick Theatre*
I was very kindly gifted a ticket to the show and I’m so glad I got to see this before the lockdown. I saw the show at the Donmar Warehouse back in 2014 and was so chuffed that Josie Rourke’s production was finally getting the West End transfer it deserved. Because of the size of the Garrick, the set was massive and allowed the musical to have more room to breathe. For example, the end of act one scene where Stone argues with his main character Stine has the most astonishing staging. The grey lighting that highlights Stine and the more colourful lighting that highlights Stone clash in a superb way that pushes against one another as the actors move about the stage. Throw in the superb voices of Hadley Fraser as Stone and Theo James (yes! Theo James! He actually sings and he sings like a DREAM) as Stine, it’s genuinely the hottest end of act one finale you’ll ever see. And not just cause of the room temperature. Special mention must go to Rosalie Craig who was amazing as Gabby/Bobbi and Rebecca Trehearn as Donna/Oolie as both ladies absolutely tore the roof off the theatre with their solos. It was such a nice treat to have them back in the West End. Huge thanks to LondonBoxOffice for giving me a ticket to the show!
What shows did you see before lockdown? Let me know!
Keep well and stay safe!
Until next time,
Categories: On Stage
Well, sadly I only got to see one musical this year. I saw the tour of Come From Away. I was really hoping to see Anastasia, Frozen, and Wicked- but COVID. I was the least disappointed with Wicked due to already seeing it four times. Most of the musicals I see are Broadway Tours- I rely primary on Charlotte’s Blumenthal Performing Arts to see Broadway Musicals.
I did get to see La Bohème as well- an opera I been dying to see ever since learning Rent was based off it. My favorite opera.