Reviewed by Catherine Joyce
Last night we went to see Titanic, The Musical at Blackpool’s famous Opera House which is situated in the Winter Gardens complex. The Opera House is a very impressive theatre seating almost 3000 and is located in the centre of Blackpool. The theatre is easy to get to with plenty of parking nearby, either on ground level or multi storey car parks. We paid £3.00 to park on a nearby car park that was only a few minutes walk away from the theatre.
The story of the Titanic is well known, not least because of James Cameron’s 1997 film. The musical tells much the same tale but without concentrating too much on any particular character. Whilst the captain, designer and owner of the Titanic were central to the plot, the story manages to include the future hopes and dreams of the 3rd class passengers together along with the touching story of Isador and Ida Straus, a happily married couple who choose to die together rather than be parted after a long and happy marriage.
One of the central themes is the division of society by the class system at the time, 1st class passengers were used to privilege and expected the best of everything with no thought to the lives of those less fortunate, even when the ship was sinking the 3rd class passengers were treated no better than luggage, not even being able to go up on deck.
Alice and Edgar Beane, travelling in 2nd class, show how the concepts of class were starting to break down in the early 20th century; she wants to sneak into the 1st class salon and rub shoulders with the rich and famous whilst he knows his place and doesn’t want to get into trouble.
The set was quite simple but worked very well. Simple additions of a table or radio equipment transformed the stage and the clever use of lighting and music added to the drama. I did wonder how the story would be portrayed on stage as recreating a sinking ship was never going to be easy, but it had been very well thought out and came across incredibly well, we especially liked the scene when the ship hit the iceberg at the end of the first half. The sinking of the Titanic was also very impressive with part of the set tilting upwards to give a believable picture of the Titanic slipping beneath the waves. The transition from life to death was brilliantly portrayed by the lighting on the stage.
The cast had absolutely amazing voices and were clear and powerful throughout the whole performance. The songs have been written for Titanic by Maury Yeston and as you would expect fit perfectly, telling the story with little need for spoken dialogue. The talented cast is supported by a superb orchestra, directed by Mark Aspinall and the music really captured the atmosphere and added to the experience.
Definitely worthy of mention is the way that the deaths of over 1500 people was dealt with at the end of the night. The “survivors” stood along the front of the stage with the names of the dead displayed above them and explained the agony of having to sit in the lifeboats whilst listening to their fellow passengers drowning. This sobering end was a perfect reminder of just what happened that night over 100 years ago.
The musical ended with a standing ovation and we both agreed it was the best musical we have seen in a very long time.
Tickets cost from £15 to £39.50 (booking fees may apply).
Titanic The Musical is at the Blackpool Opera House from 9-14 July 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.wintergardensblackpool.co.uk or call the box office on 0844 856 1111.
Winter Gardens & Opera House Theatre, 97 Church Street, Blackpool, Lancashire, FY1 1HL