Gypsy at Royal Exchange
Gypsy starring Ria Jones - Royal Exchange Theatre Thursday 5th December Press Night
Director Jo Davies, Choreography Andrew Wright, Musical Supervisor Joel Fram.
The much anticipated production of this well loved musical, great excitement on our arrival, wonderful festive atmosphere. Mulled wine in the Rivals bar, staff, as always, cheerful and super efficient. Everywhere packed.
Having seen this previously at the Savoy with Imelda Staunton, we were keen to see a different production, expecting the Royal Exchange's usual flair and modern take.
We weren't disappointed. Stage design was very impressive, bright light bulbs all around the stage level, and a rotating stage with a huge lighting gantry. Plus a surprise unique effect ( no spoiler ) which was delightful and amusing. A live orchestra above the stage was just perfect and added to the authentic feel of the whole production.
Baby June was played by Marley Quinlan - Gardner. She was superb, bright and bouncy, full of energy and personality. Let Me Entertain You was so endearing and amusing, a delight to watch.
Baby Louise was played by Maddison Arnold and was the perfect foil for her on stage sister.
Choreography was breathtaking, fast paced and spot on accuracy, particularly during a stunning number involving a small trampoline. Very hard to stay in your seat and keep still. We were dying to jump up and join in. The Burlesque scene with You Gotta Get a Gimmick was hilarious.
Gypsy has some of the best known numbers in musical theatre and all were executed beautifully, superb singing, every emotion conveyed so beautifully. We couldn't stop singing our favourite numbers on the way home. Some People, Together Wherever We Go, All I Need is the Girl, Everything's Coming Up Roses were our favourites. The final number, Rose's Turn brought the house down. Stupendous.
Melissa James playing Louise has the most pure voice we have ever heard, really brings a tear to the eye. Played the part with such conviction, her transformation to poised beauty from quiet overlooked teen was thing to behold.
Can't review this without a nod to the costume designer Gabrielle Dalton and team, all costumes were beautiful, some sumptuous dresses and the burlesque scenes outfits were perfect, cheeky and fun as well as glamorous. Such clever invention and skill.
An absolutely perfect production on every level. Hugely talented cast, great fun and we will definitely return more than once before it finishes on the 25th January.
Christine Ince for Canal St Online.