Wow! The Royal Exchange never fails to impress with a musical, which is normally performed in a Proscenium space, but the genius of the creative team has presented it in the round space! It’s a hearty backstage musical about the gritty reality of show-biz and has the show within a show thing going on which is such an exciting dynamic .
This musical is perfection and it is epic running at around 3 hours! Filled with vaudeville and broadway tunes by Jule Styne with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The songs are just fabulous, played by a tight band under the direction of Leo Munby. They sounded brilliant but I wish they were pushed a tad louder at times.
The iconic character of Mama Rose is played by Ria Jones with great comedic timing and stage presence, Rose’s Turn was a jaw-dropping moment which I will never forget! It’s worth the ticket price alone. I can’t fault any of the cast but another special mention has to go to Melissa James and Melissa Lowe who play Louise and June. The Red Team Of children for tonight were brilliant with bags of energy and talent!
The spinning proscenium pushes us through the story on the stunning rustic mirror floor. (By Francis O’Connor) The costumes (By Gabrielle Dalton)
and lighting (By Colin Grenfell) led to a very classy looking production which felt contemporary but timeless.
The direction By Jo Davies allows all sides of the audience to never feel like they are missing out on anything which is brilliant because Gypsy is a very traditional Proscenium show! With the Book by Arthur Laurence the piece just crescendos and feels like it’s going to explode because it is such an intimate space. To be so close to the action in a musical masterpiece is so special and this allows the actors to really connect to the audience.
This production is packed with heart, grit and emotion which leaves you feeling so uplifted and you really go on a rollercoaster journey with these characters. I urge everyone to get down to the Royal Exchange to see this 4 star production!
Production Photos by Johan Persson
Thanks for reading! Have you seen Gypsy? Feel free to comment below your thoughts!