Apollo Theatre, London – until 15 October 2016
Guest reviewer: Laura Thomas
This was my second visit to this production. Previously, I had found myself agreeing with many of the critics; a beautiful and thoughtful production, but struggling to get that fourth star.
As before, I was swept away into the story by the powerful opening scenes, the movement and delivery of the company is operatic in scope; mostly sung through; well written and executed. No surprise that the experienced Julian Forsyth was an able deputy for Michael Crawford, but the real delight was understudy Jessica Duncan as Marian, lighting up the stage in her first west end role.
This talented young actor has been bubbling under for a few years now with film, TV and stage roles, both fringe and mainstream. She brought strength and vulnerability, a perfect mix of gentle fun and iron resolve, a superb Musical Theatre debut.
The production itself was noticeably pacier, some trimming had taken place and the piece was the better for it. The ensemble tacked the show with verve and panache and I was again taken by the stylish delivery. But somehow this engaging production loses its mojo. One is left with the conclusion that the plot may be too limited to sustain a performance of such intensity.
The focus on Leo and his fifty-year old trauma, seems less interesting than many of the sub plots. And why did Leo wait fifty years to exorcise his demons? What was the incident that drove him into his attic, and from thence back to Norfolk?
But despite its flaws this remains an innovative and interesting production, intelligent and compelling musical theatre.
Guest Review By Laura Thomas
Laura Thomas is the alter ego of playwright and musician Andrew Sharpe and is his pen name when writing music and theatre reviews, see www.andrewsharpe.co.uk
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