This is running at the Gielgud Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue, that’s an indication that this show is a big deal. Based on a 1970 musical comedy with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by George Furth. The original production was nominated for a record-setting fourteen Tony Awards and won six.
This second West End revival has a twist to the original, Robert becomes Bobbie, with Rosalie Craig playing the main role. I’ve never seen the role played by a man so can’t make any sort of comparison.
The show is based around Bobbie’s 35th Birthday, her life with her best friends in the shape of 5 couples, inter-twined with her time with her 3 men friends.
My seat was in the back row of the Dress Circle in Row J and gave a great view of the stage. The set was quite spectacular, a series of rooms across the stage. We had 2 songs, where it was apparent that Rosalie Craig has a beautiful voice. Then something happened that I’ve never experienced before, the curtain came down! An announcement came that there was a technical difficulty and the house lights came up.
5 or 10 minutes later another announcement was made from the stage, Mel Giedroyc playing Sarah had fallen ill and they were getting her understudy ready. Francesca Ellis was a key part of the next scene, and she was wonderful!
As well as looking at Bobbie’s life this is a window into the 5 relationships. The songs are as good as you’d expect from the pen of Sondheim and the dialogue and story lines are funny. The funniest set sees Jamie, played by Jonathan Bailey agonising over his upcoming nuptials with PJ, played by George Blagden, he was brilliant and the whole thing was laugh out loud funny!
Patti LuPone was one half of one of the married couples, the 69 year old American actress has a long list of theatre awards and nominations to her name. She played the part of Joanne perfectly.
The applause was long and hard at the end of the performance and I’m pleased to say Francesca Ellis got a long, loud accolade
This show isn’t running for many more weeks, it’s one of my must sees, it’s funny, it’ll make you cry as well as laugh. A wonderful show!