Alex Ferns, Marc Elliott and Philip McGinley will join the cast of the record-breaking production of The Girl on the Train for its London run. Starring Samantha Womack as Rachel Watson, the production will run at London’s Duke of York’s Theatre from 23 July to 17 August 2019.
The Girl on the Train starring Samantha Womack as Rachel Watson will transfer to London’s Duke of York’s Theatre for a limited run from 23 July to 17 August 2019.
The Girl on the Train is contemporary, both in its subject and staging. There is a strong balance between a suspenseful whodunit that drives the play and a psychological element about memory and control, and abusive relationships.
Some of the beauty of Flowers for Mrs Harris gets lost at Chichester Festival Theatre but it remains a striking new musical
“It’s a work of art… something not real, made to make you feel”
I had much love for Flowers for Mrs Harris when it premiered in Sheffield a couple of years ago, and so I was delighted to see Daniel Evans deciding to revive it at his new abode over in Chichester. My only cavil came with the placing of this most heartfelt musical in the vast space of the Festival Theatre rather than the intimacy of the Minerva where it might perhaps have been better served.
So much of the beauty of the show (book by Rachel Wagstaff from Paul Gallico’s novel, music & lyrics by Richard Taylor) comes from the fact that it isn’t a bells and whistles epic. It is something far more subtle that truly celebrates the ordinary in extraordinary, as Clare Burt’s charlady Ada Harris dares to dream of owning a Christian Dior dress and in working to achieve that dream, illuminates the lives of those around her.
Largely sung-through, the cumulative effect of Flowers for Mrs Harris is like a ripple billowing through a length of silk fabric, flipping it over – beguiling and beautiful, gentle but ultimately transformative. As Ada’s hard work takes her from Battersea to Paris, some nifty doubling in the cast sees her meeting contrasting figures to those for whom she toils. So Louis Maskell switches from accountant to dreamy photographer, Laura Pitt-Pulford from struggling actress to top model, Joanna Riding aristocracy to couturier, and all impress with their clear delineation.
And Burt is just magnificent the unassuming Ada, slowly coming to realise her place in the world, her worth and her right to a greater happiness than she ever dared dream of in the drudgery of post-war Britain. Lez Brotherston’s design looks superb under Mark Henderson’s well-observed lighting choices, and the conclusion is a thing of real, gentle wonder. Don’t just talk about wanting to see new exciting British musical theatre, go and see it now!
Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes (with interval)
Photos: Johan Persson
Flowers for Mrs Harris is booking at Chichester Festival Theatre until 29th September
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Flowers For Mrs Harris, a 2016 Sheffield hit for director Daniel Evans when he was there, is the big musical flourish for Chichester Festival Theatre, where Evans is now completing his second year as artistic director.
Flowers for Mrs Harris is one of the most heartwarming shows I have ever seen and a return to the great British musical. The audible gasps, from the audience, at certain parts a testament to both the writing and performances.
Daniel Evans’ elegant, heartfelt production of Flowers For Mrs Harris at Chichester Festival Theatre has been fine-tuned since it ravished our hearts at Sheffield.
Birdsong is a beautiful love story, interweaved with the horrors of war. Recommended.
Birdsong is a production that is thoughtful, respectful and heartbreaking to watch – but its powerful poignancy and heartfelt performances make this a must-see show.
Taylor writes an altogether different kind of musical in which “songs” rarely arrive fully formed but rather are in the process of evolving – beginnings of songs which are content just being songful and serving as aides-memoires, melodic remanants which in some cases return again and again with all their emotional memory intact. Wagner called them leitmotifs.
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