I went to see ‘Gypsy’ at the Savoy Theatre many weeks ago, before West End LIVE 2015. But finally I’m able to write a review. I was so excited about it because I watched the movie many months ago and I really liked it, so I was looking forward to see it on stage. I must say that I loved it because it’s like the film but on stage, so most of the people who know the film already will enjoy it. And the people who haven’t seen it, I think that they will love it too, because it’s such an amazing and funny story, with great performances by Imelda Staunton and Lara Pulver.
‘Gypsy’ it’s a musical with music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Arthur Laurents, inspired in Gypsy Rose Lee’s career. The show is focused on her mother’s life and how she fights to make their daughters artists. It was created in 1959 and presented in the Imperial Theatre of Broadway. The first British production arrived in 1973, with Angela Lansbury, in the Piccadilly Theatre. In 1962, the movie adaptation was created, starring Natalie Wood.
In 2014, a new production in UK was produced, directed by Jonathan Kent. Imelda Staunton played Rose and Lara Pulver, Louise. It was presented at the Chichester Festival Theatre, but after their success, it was moved to London, to the Savoy Theatre, where is running for a strictly limited season. So go and get your tickets now before it’s too late! The show will close in November and in January will come ‘Guys & Dolls’.
The musical explains the story of Momma Rose, a woman who rides across the United States with her two daughters performing everywhere. They play vaudeville and her dream is that June and Louise become a star someday. June is very talented, she plays most of the solos and Louise is very shy, she is just dancing and playing the chorus. Rose meets Herbie, a former agent, and she asks him to join them. They go on a successful tour, but the girls grow up and June is offered to go to study at the Performing Arts school but her mother refuses that, so she decides to leave. After losing the main star of her shows, Momma Rose decides to teach Louise how to be an actress and she becomes very popular as Gypsy Rose Lee, but not the way her mother expected.
What I enjoyed the most of the show was the orchestration. I already knew the songs after watching the film, but listening them again live was such a wonderful experience. I will get the cast recording as soon as I can, because I want to listen again the songs of this production. I was very impressed with Imelda Staunton’s voice, she is great and she does a fantastic job performing songs like ‘Rose’s Turn’, ‘Some People’ or ‘Everything Is Coming Up Roses’. Now I know that she has played some musicals before like ‘The Wizard Of Oz’, ‘Sweeney Todd’ or ‘Into The Woods’ (a lot of Stephen Sondheim in her career).
I was concerned of how they would do to put so many kids on stage. In the film is great because you can see how they go on tour across USA and how they grow up very quickly, but I wasn’t sure how this would be clear on stage. Everything is very clear, very well organised, all the decorations are beautiful, so you can see very clearly Rose’s home, the different theatres they visit, even the hotel where they stay and celebrate Louise’s birthday.
It’s great to watch a classic on stage. I feel like all the shows I’ve seen in London lately are new and I love it, but I also enjoy getting surprised by classics. I have such a big collection of classic musicals on DVD (and it’s taking me quite long to watch all of them), but I love them because they are pictures of the past and the story stills being lovely nowadays. So I had a really nice time, with all the choreographies, and the story that moved me a lot and was so funny. This show it’s a mixture of funny scenes (‘You Gotta Get A Gimmick’) with some sad (‘Little Lamb’), some other very powerful (‘Let Me Entertain You’) and dramatic songs (‘Rose’s Turn’).
It’s a great joy to watch this show live and understand Rose’s life and how she did her best to make her daughters shine. Even being quite complex and unconventional, we can’t deny that she did her best for June and Louise. Maybe she was missing lots of things and Imelda plays a very charismatic woman, that you don’t love but at least you understand her situation and point of view. The price of the ticket is worth it only for watching Imelda’s ‘Everything’s Coming Up Roses’ and ‘Rose’s Turn’. My mouth was completely opened and I felt goosebumps all the time. So go and get your tickets as soon as possible, don’t miss this opportunity!