Team Review: Sunset Boulevard




Review by Sarah Miatt

Andrew Lloyd Webber, Don Black and Christopher Hamptons’ musical adaptation of the seminal, classic film, Sunset Boulevard hasn’t toured the UK for a number of years. The sheer magnitude of the production makes this easy to see why. This Curve production successfully managed to keep the glamour and scale required of a show documenting the golden age of Hollywood whilst making it suitable for a touring company.

Photo Credit Manuel Harlan

First mention must go to the astounding orchestra lead by Adrian Kirk. They not only performed flawlessly but the sound produced completely immersed you in the piece whilst beautifully complementing and not overwhelming the talented cast. The set was put to brilliant use with the famous staircase working so hard it deserves a mention all of its own. Telling the story, in a flashback, as a Hollywood movie was inspired and worked so well, complete with clever projections, lighting and props.

All the performances, without exception were fantastic. A talented ensemble executed clever movement and sang beautifully, whilst the leads were all brilliantly cast.

Photo Credit Manuel Harlan

Dougie Carter as failing writer Joe Gillis was both young and jaded, portraying the conflicted personality perfectly. His chemistry with Ria Jones’ Norma Desmond showed the toxic nature of their relationship very well. Carter also had a wonderful connection with Molly Lynch as Betty Schaefer who in turn was sweet and enthusiastic with a beautiful, pure voice perfect for the role. Adam Pearce as Butler with a secret, Max Von Meyerling was both severe and heartwarming with a wonderful baritone voice that rumbled beautifully throughout the auditorium.

Photo Credit Manuel Harlan

This show will, by nature always belong to Norma Desmond and the whole production in essence hangs on this one performance. Luckily Ria Jones in the role of the faded and damaged star did not disappoint. It is almost difficult to put into words how truly phenomenal her performance was. Without doubt it was one of the most astounding musical theatre performances I have ever seen and she is made for the role. From her first appearance singing the lullaby “surrender” to the corpse of her pet chimp, to the beautifully sung “As if We Never Said Goodbye” she was perfection personified in every way.

A remarkable production and I would urge any musical theatre fan to go.

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