REVIEW: END OF THE RAINBOW (Churchill Theatre Bromley)
It’s 1968 and in London, the iconic Judy Garland is set to make her big comeback.
Newly sober and along with her younger fiancé, Mickey Deans, they arrive in London for a series of shows which they hope to bring her out of debt and set them both up.
End of The Rainbow is a dark, emotional and moving insight into the final months of Judy Garland’s life, before her accidental overdose in June 1969. The story is set in a London hotel room and follows her explosive comeback and addiction to drugs and alcohol, through to her shocking death later on the next year.
Within weeks of coming to London, Judy reverts back to drink and drugs, and along with Dean’s help she suffers the most catastrophic meltdown on stage. Unfortunately watching this is her pianist, Anthony, who represents her multiple gay husbands, who also embodies the devotion from the gay community to the iconic star.
Gary Wilmot gives an honest performance as Anthony and portrays his character well. The audience cannot but feel sorry for him as he tries to protect Judy from her own self-destruction.
Lisa Maxwell has been cast perfectly for Judy, and is not only petite in stature but has the vocal ability to match that of Garland. It was easy to imagine it was Judy on stage and Maxwell captured the emotional fragility and stage persona very well. An impressive performance and one that moved Maxwell herself many times throughout the show.
Sam Attwater plays Garlands fiancé, Mickey Deans and following his initial resistance to refrain from supporting her demons, he ends up comforting Judy with the use of drugs to keep her going.
This show really strips away the glitz and glamour of Garland in her heyday and it is simply the telling of a story of an iconic legend.
Featuring some of Garlands most memorable songs including, The Trolley Song, Come Rain or Come Shine and The Man That Got Away, each performance had my hair on end and the show finished with a heartfelt rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow.
End of The Rainbow is currently playing at The Churchill Theatre, Bromley until Saturday 12th March before continuing on its tour of the UK until July 2016. Whether you’ve heard of the icon herself or not, this is a show not to be missed.
Reviewed by Sam Harler