I am slightly lying with the title here, because I didn’t actually see Prima Facie this week. But it was the last show I saw before I was struck with good ol corona for the week. But now I’m back at the theatre and have been to see 4 absolutely brilliant shows that you can catch in the West End currently.
Prima Facie at the Harold Pinter Theatre
Running until: 18th June 2022
Ticket link: https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/prima-facie/harold-pinter-theatre/
One of the hottest plays in London right now is Suzie Miller’s one woman legal drama Prima Facie. The play follows a young barrister called Tessa who has worked her way up the legal career ladder to the top of her game. But something happens in her life that forces Tessa to confront the power of the law and how it works against women. This is such an interesting, gripping play that delves into the law without overdoing it with so much jargon. Writer Suzie Miller’s background as a lawyer is evident and adds an authentic layer to the piece. The writing just really came to life and I felt like I was watching something that was incredibly truthful. Pair this with Jodie Comer’s incredible tour-de-force of a performance, the play made for an a truly gripping evening of theatre. It’s incredibly hard to believe this is only Jodie’s West End debut, she has such strong stage presence and so captivating to watch. The performance I saw was the night after she won a BAFTA and I’ve no doubt that she’s going to win the Olivier for this next year. This isn’t an easy play to get through and some scenes were really quite haunting. If you can stomach scenes regarding sexual assault, I’d highly recommend this play. If you can’t get a ticket to watch this in person at the Harold Pinter Theatre, the play will be streamed into cinemas via NT Live in July. Absolutely worth seeing this.
My Fair Lady at the London Coliseum*
Running until: 27th August 2022
Ticket link: https://www.londonboxoffice.co.uk/my-fair-lady-tickets
My Fair Lady has always been one of those classic musicals that has been so beloved by casual and hardcore MT fans alike for years. While this was my first time seeing a production of it on stage, I have been listening to the cast album of this production when it was on Broadway in 2018 and loved it. So I was confident that I was, at least, going to enjoy the production because of how much I loved the music. But actually watching it was a completely different experience. Director Bartlett Sher has created a truly enchanting and joyful production, I could not stop grinning from the second it started. It’s a shame that it is such a rarity to have a huge orchestra in the West End but the 40 piece orchestra here allow the score to really soar across the auditorium. The production is of such a big scale that it doesn’t feel swallowed up by the size of the theatre. Michael Yeargan’s set fills the space nicely and I really loved Henry Higgins’ house and the way this was incorporated into the numbers. Just You Wait was a particular stand out. Really loved Christopher Gattelli’s choreography as well, this really shined through the big group numbers and the Embassy Ball at the top of act 2 was a particular highlight.
The cast is led by Amara Okereke as Eliza Doolittle, who is simply perfection in this role. From the moment we meet her, she has the entire auditorium in the palm of her hand. Effortlessly charming from the offset, you really feel like you are being taken on the journey Eliza goes on alongside her and I really found myself rooting for her. Some moments in the script that sound like they were written with the intention of squashing Eliza down are reversed through the mannerisms in her performance. She has an incredible voice, her I Could Have Danced All Night and Without You are 2 particular highlights in the show for me. And I thought her accents were really well done as well, the transition between the two was really smooth and felt natural. She makes a great pair with Harry Haddon-Patten as Higgins and they both have really great chemistry together. With Higgins as well, there were a few moments in the script that really could have turned him into an absolute bigot. He is still a massive snob when we meet him, but his journey throughout the show felt really natural as he starts to mellow out of the giant man child that he could be. Also thought Sharif Afifi was absolutely adorable as Freddie, On The Street Where You Live is one of my favourite songs in the show and he absolutely smashed it.
This was slightly longer than I anticipated, but I really loved this show and the joy I felt throughout it. I’m already planning to go again. It is 3 hours long, but the time honestly flies by. Highly recommend if you’re after some well needed escapism.
Grease at the Dominion Theatre*
Running until: 29th October 2022
Ticket link: https://www.greasemusical.co.uk/ticket-info
Grease is the word and it’s back in the West End. I was really excited at the prospect of the classic musical returning to London. The film has been an a staple in my household for years, but I’ve never actually seen a professional production of it. Closest I think I’ve got is when Fox broadcast Grease Live and I really loved that. What is special about this production is that it really stands on it’s own alongside iterations like the film and the live broadcast. Instead of focusing around the Danny and Sandy love story, this production places the Pink Ladies and the Burger Palace Boys (formerly known as the T Birds) at the centre which really helps bring the world of Rydell High to life. Because it allows the audience to tap into the lives of teenagers in the 50s and highlight multiple perspectives.
Staging wise, this production is big and it’s bold. Like My Fair Lady, this doesn’t seem to be swallowed up by the huge Dominion Theatre. The set design by Colin Richmond encapsulates the high school setting well. Even when we’re at the scenes don’t take place there it’s always present in the background. Arlene Phillips’ choreography is full out and consistently at a high energetic pace with Grease Lightning, Born To Hand Jive and Freddy My Love being two highlights.
The entire cast were excellent and it’s so clear they’re all having the best time. Yes, Peter Andre’s name is all over the top billing spaces and I thought he was enjoyable. I think this is a good instant of “stunt casting” because there are people will go purely for him. But they’ll get to see a plethora of talent like Olivia Moore, Jocasta Almgill (who stole the entire show for me), Mary Tyler Moore, Damon Gould, Eloise Davies, Lily-Rose Esin-Kelly etc who have been killing it in the West End, off West End and regional theatres for years now. And they all shine so brightly here. Entire cast were fantastic but these performers were the standouts for me.
It’s been such a great week at the theatre for me, let me know if you’ve seen these shows or what else is next on your watch list.
Until next time!
Categories: On Stage