Reviewed by Linda Curtain
What can I say but WOW! Having had the chance to see the amazing Sunset Boulevard at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth, I was amazed to have watched such a compelling production. Norma Desmond certainly captivated the audience in Plymouth.
Based on Billy Wilder’s 1950s movie, this stage production had its opening night in Plymouth last evening. With the Theatre Royal Plymouth being well known for hosting great productions, it was a joy to attend this theatre for another fantastic show. Being based in the centre of Plymouth with easy nearby parking and good facilities, Theatre Royal Plymouth is a great venue for all theatre productions regardless of size or genre.
The story of this lesser known Andrew Lloyd Webber musical focuses on the once famous actress Norma Desmond who, after slipping from the spotlight in the film industry, had become a recluse in her spectacular mansion on Sunset Boulevard. When struggling script writer Joe Gillis has a chance encounter with her, he becomes involved with Norma and her dream to write a script for a film which will see her as the main star once again. Their relationship soon spirals out of control due to Norma’s jealousy and manic episodes.
Norma Desmond is played by the amazing Ria Jones. What an incredible actress with a superb singing voice. Her stage presence was so intense you were compelled to watch her every move. The manic look in her eyes was so haunting at times and the way she aged during the show was brilliant.
Danny Mac as Joe Gillis was just right in his role – a relaxed, natural actor with a great singing voice and a good mix of charm and sensitivity.
A mention must also be given to Adam Pearce who played the role of Max the butler. What an amazing vocal range and he showed such emotion through his singing. The young, innocent aspiring writer Betty, played by Molly Lynch, with her lovely voice and energy was a great contrast to the ageing Norma.
With elaborate sets and scenery, this is a spectacular show. The mansion with its sweeping staircase and old-fashioned organ added to the glamour required. Credit to the stagehands who moved the large pieces of scenery so effortlessly! The use of cinematography gave another dimension to the show.
Fantastic scenery, amazing vocals and a good compelling storyline. All the ingredients for an outstanding production.
A well-deserved standing ovation from last night’s audience and certainly worthy of a five-star rating.
Tickets cost from £25 to £49.50 (booking fees may apply).
Sunset Boulevard is at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth from 12-17 March 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.theatreroyal.com or call the box office on 01752 267222.
Theatre Royal Plymouth, Royal Parade, Plymouth, PL1 2TR | 01752 267222