So here comes the big musical hit of the summer!
I first saw this grand musical on Broadway in 1997 when it was given a full and spectacular staging ( the boat tipped and sunk on stage!). I saw it with much doubt. Titanic hardly seemed a suitable subject for a musical – that seemingly lightest and most flippant of art forms handling a major tragedy! Not for me of course: musicals done well bring together all the arts and may even be the highest of art forms. But I won’t go there right now. Another problem was that it also opened the same year as the film Titanic was released, and everyone knew the music from this. As it happens film and musical were not related at all. Anyway, I liked it this musical a lot; it ran for some 800 performances; and I bought the CD and still play it regularly. It is rich in wonderful tunes.
It has toured in the UK but never had a London opening……. till now. And now it has arrived at the moved and refreshed Southwark Playhouse where it is running for a month.
This is a small scale but truly gloriously staged production. Standing ovations all round at the end. It a stunning choral achievement worked by an ensemble group who spill their guts out with passion and drama: I was deeply moved, and had to work hard to stop the tears! It peaked over and over again leaving me quite drained emotionally by the end. There is no hi tech gadgetry here; just a good small orchestra and MD; a wonderfully talented cast ( really quite big for the small stage); a focus on both the ship as a symbol of civilization, and stories told from three social classes boarding the boat.
Based on actual characters aboard the greatest ship in the world, Maury Yeston (Nine, Grand Hotel, Phantom) and Peter Stone’s stunning musical focuses on their hopes and aspirations. Unaware of the fate that awaits them, the Third Class immigrants dream of a better life in America, the newly-enfranchised Second Class dream of achieving the lifestyles of the rich and famous, and the millionaire Barons of the First Class dream of their hegemony lasting forever.
Winner of 5 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book.
“The greatest American Musical to have been written in 15 years”
Sheridan Morley, The Spectator
In the final hour of 14th April 1912 the RMS Titanic, on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York, collided with an iceberg and ‘the unsinkable ship’ slowly sank. It was one of the most tragic disasters of the 20th Century. 1517 men, women and children lost their lives.
THis will only be on for a month: if you know the passion of a musical, you should not miss this.