Tuesday, 2 July 2013

'Merrily We Roll Along' Harold Pinter Theatre *****

What can I say about the Menier Chocolate Factory West End transfer of Stephen Sondheim's and George Furth's musical 'Merrily We Roll Along'? All I can say is that I found the whole experience to be one of such wonder and enjoyment. When 'Merrily We Roll Along' was first staged in 1981 it became one of Broadway's most notorious flops by only lasting for sixteen performances but now in 2013 at the Harold Pinter Theatre it has become a triumphant reinvention. Maria Friedman's direction was outstanding  as I was able to understand her vision for the show to symbolise how friendships are incredibly and her own personal experience, when she performed as Mary in the 1992 production shines through the characters. The three lead roles of Frankie, Mary and Charley, portrayed by Mark Umbers, Jenna Russell and Damian Humbley were conveyed so delicately that I became enthralled by the friends arguments over Frankie's success in the 1970's film industry.  The backwards timeline showed how film producers have no originality whatsoever and this is how the theatre industry today is reflected through musical adaptations of popular films. The choreography, beautifully crafted by Tim Jackson  fitted in exceptionally well within Friedman's vision. I especially enjoyed the scene in The Downtown Club where you could see the originality of Charley, Frankie and Beth's (Clare Foster)  artistic collaboration through incredible dance sequences. Every single production value were on par to the acting and directing. You should see this before the end of July as it closes at the end of July. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at 'Merrily We Roll Along' and I recommend you go and see it. 

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