Posts Tagged ‘Savoy Theater’

Review – Guys and Dolls – Savoy Theater

January 5, 2016

The Savoy Theater has been the place to be for me in 2015: I made five visits in total, the most I went to any mainstage London house (the Southwark Playhouse actually got the most attention thanks to my three trips to Xanadu). I was enthused about going back for a chance to see Guys and Dolls, especially after seeing what you could do with it in a small space some years ago (at the Gatehouse) – just imagine it all done on a big stage! Wow! The possibility!

The set, though, didn’t go for huge New York feel, but rather an evocative but not detailed look: most of what happened what done behind a background of curiously shaped period billboards with (occasional) neon outlines, easily enough redone to imply Cuba when required. Otherwise, the decor was mostly a few chairs, a podium, a desk and a news stand. It wasn’t exactly cheap, but it looked like it wouldn’t have even taken up one moving truck.

But hey! The music! The story! So much to love! And somehow neither the Adele/Nathan Detroit nor the Sky Masterson/Sarah Brown relationships were really clicking. Now that’s not to say Siobhan Harrison wasn’t really enjoyable as Sarah (especially in the Cuban scenes) – but you want to feel energy crackling between then – Sky’s power as a skilled seducer and her curiosity to take a trip on the wild side sending big crackling bolts between them. And Adele and Nathan just seemed too damned old for there to ever be a chance of them having all of the kids Adele’s been making up for those letters back home to mom. I could mostly buy them as long suffering partners but on the lines of two decades and not just one. T

This left me with the dancing to catch my attention, and boy did it. The catfight scene in the Cuban bar was all sorts of fun, and both “Rocking the Boat” and “Luck Be a Lady” were genuine showstoppers. Is this what Carlos Acosta can do when his dancers take off their toe shoes? Wow. I’m sensing another Jerome Robbins here because these numbers alone pumped Guys and Dolls up so much they were worth a second trip.

Well … actually that’s not true, even if the dancing was a standout. Tickets to the Savoy are too damned expensive and I won’t stand for less than 4 or 5 stars, and dance alone can’t give that much of a lift. It was a serviceable but forgettable show, I’m sorry to say, and was already slipping from my memory as I was walking to the tube. Not what you want when the bill is yet to be paid and already know luck weren’t your lady that night.

(This review is for a preview performance that took place on December 17th 2015. It continues through March 12th and apparently Grand Circle seats are available for 25 for all shows – no surprise given how flat it was.)

Mini-review – Gypsy – Imelda Staunton at the Savoy Theater

April 29, 2015

I’m an Imelda Staunton fan, so I’d already had a pair of tickets for this show in my hot little hand (courtesy of Santa Claus) for some time before the reviews for the Savoy transfer came through (I’m a fan but not enough to go to Chichester). But BOY the West End Whingers were just bubbling all over themselves about this one (“Everything’s coming up roses .. and daffodils!”) and I knew any moment now “it’s gonna be my turn” and I couldn’t wait. I’d only ever seen Bette Midler’s version (on TV) and I really, really was hoping for something amazing.

And, really, that’s what I got. The stage was frequently teeny tiny, a little rotating flip capturing a sideways glance of where things were happening .. but then it opened up in the horrible scenes set in old vaudeville houses. I started off fighting it a bit – the young Baby June was grating (and tinnily miked) and I was glad to see the end of the child actor scenes even though they did get progressively camper as the evening went on.

Songwise, it’s almost unfair to have so many standards jammed in one show – you’re not getting that with modern musicals, that’s for sure – and the emotional ride of Rose’s relationship with the manager Herbie (Peter Davison), and the heartbreak and disappointment when she breaks her last promise to him … Gypsy herself (Lara Pulver) in the shadows for most of the evening, because, really the show isn’t about her anyway … I saw that this time, the fact that I thought it _was_ about her was my mistake, she was just the cherry on top of the cake, but not the cake at all. And oh, the brilliant laughs of the old strippers in “You Gotta Get a Gimmick …” so funny! By this time we were all just riding the wave of the story, the inevitability of Gypsy’s “fall,” which suddenly was (again) about her mother, the most horrible relationship ever, and as the stage finally utterly transformed itself for Mama Rose’s last big number, like something right out of the movie version of Chicago, so big you almost couldn’t believe it was on stage, there was little Imelda belting it out, surrounded by glittering lights … breaking our hearts. It wasn’t the end of the show, but we jumped out of out seats and applauded. It was all just so intense. Everything came up roses, roses covered with thorns, and we (and she) held on to them tight, the blood pouring down and the smile fixed on her face. My God, what a night. I nearly immediately broke all of my promises to stick to cheaper seats and went and got a pair of tickets in the front row so I could see it again but this time from a place where I could see the sweat beading on their faces as every single actor busted their chops to make it awesome for us. Yes, it was that good. Don’t miss it.

(This review is for a performance that took place on Thursday, April 16th, 2015. It’s on until October.)

Review – Dirty Rotten Scoundrels – Savoy Theater

May 15, 2014

When the going gets tough, the tough get going to … musicals. Live musicals. Funny musicals. Just the day before I’d been to a riotous How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying in Walthamstow – could a big, polished West End production in any way recreate the charm and joy of a weensie yet perfect show held over a pub?

To my pleasure, my economical (bumped from third balcony to second) yet well-centered seats gave me just the sort of big-bang evening I was hoping for. The story of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels was one I didn’t know … two con men (one cultured – Lawrence Jameson as played by Robert Lindsay; one low brow – Freddy Benson as played by Rufus Hound) go head to head in a Riviera resort town, betting that one of them will be first to do a big con and the other will then leave town in disgrace. It’s like a buddy comedy, only mean instead of cute, with the two men playing tricks on their cons and each other, while we in the audience laugh harder and harder. And of course the woman they choose for the big con sets it up so it becomes personal between the two guys.

I came to this show with no knowledge of the movie, so the whole thing was pretty much a surprise for me. It turns out it was much less greasy than I expected – I never anticipated that the development of the relationship between the two men would be so important to the story. (Watching the movie later, I realized that a fair amount of liberty had been taken with the source material – all the better to make a good night at the theater.) I was despairing at the combination of “hit Hollywood movie” and “Broadway songwriting talent,” expecting some Disneyfied piece of crap, but as it turns out, the songs were actually genuinely funny, with lyrics that didn’t just fill space but gave me the giggles. What went right here? And even if they kept the sets fairly light and airy, weren’t the dance numbers a laugh? OH MY GOD WAS I HAVING A GOOD TIME? There are nights when I am sure it would never happen again!

In retrospect, despite the West End ticket price, I have to say that Dirty Rotten Scoundrels has every possibility of being the kind of reliable that you turn to for a pick me up on a gray day – a bit of slapstick, a lot of dancing, and buckets and buckets of fun. And thanks to Paul in London for the heads up – without you, I would have missed out entirely!

(This review is for a performance that took place on Thursday, May 8, 2014. It is booking until well into the future.)

Great deal – two for one top price tickets to Legally Blonde at the Savoy Theatre

September 1, 2011

Today’s Metro has a great deal in it – two for one tickets to Legally Blonde (now starring Carley Stenson). I recently went to see this with the new cast and found it an uplifting, joyous night at the theater – really a good night out and perfect to see with the girls.

To take advantage of this deal, you need to call the box office (0844 871 7687) and quote “Metro” offer. Sadly it’s only good for Monday through Thursday performances (and only from September 5th through October 20th, 2011) but still, it’s better than you can get at TKTS or on LastMinute so it’s a bargain. Enjoy!