RAGS is a heart-warming and powerful musical with book by Joseph Stein (Fiddler on the Roof), lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked) and music by Charles Strouse (Annie), which tells the story of Russian immigrant Rebecca, who, with her son David, travels to America in search of a better life. Rebecca must decide what matters more to her – staying true to her roots or adopting a new cultural identity in an attempt to ‘fit in’.
RAGS is brilliantly directed by Bronagh Lagan with musical direction and new orchestrations by Nick Barstow, choreography by Grant Murphy, beautiful set design by Gregor Donnelly, costume design by Maggie Harwood, lighting design by Derek Anderson, sound design by James Nicholson and casting by Jane Deitch. RAGS is produced by Katy Lipson for Aria Entertainment.
This musical is very relevant today and you couldn’t choose a better time to revive it! It has great heart and is truly rooted in the ground. The injustice shown in RAGS resonated with me a lot sadly. At times you could be laughing and there would be light hearted moments then you would be thrusted into drama and injustice. The music is played by a tight band which sounded great playing the catchy and beautiful melodies. I only wish that they were slightly louder.
I really enjoyed the story which followed Rebecca and her dreams of having a better life in America. Rebecca Trehearn gave an outstanding performance that was incredibly gritty and real. She played such a loveable Rebecca and you rooted for her to succeed. Her powerful vocals showed deep emotion and nearly had me in tears.
Tim Walton was brilliantly hilarious in the role of Jack. And Micheal S.Siegel portrayed a deep and emotional Abram. RAGS is brilliantly cast with not a single cast member lacking!
The direction for this show was deliciously done by Bronagh Lagan which was very powerful and emotional at times. Having the band come on at times during street scenes really gave an extra layer of realism. I really enjoyed the use of the window sliders and the cityscape made out of suitcases! Gregor Donnelly has created an imaginative environment for the show to live in. Being in a small space it was very immersive and they used the space very well. I always forgot I was in a smaller venue in Manchester. This is partly due to the great lighting design by Derek Anderson. The use of light curtains really made the space more expansive.
RAGS is a touching heartwarming story which is so relevant today and I urge anyone to see this 5 star musical!
RAGS is on at the Hope Mill Theatre until 6th April. Make sure you catch it!
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Thanks for reading !