Wilma’s rating [rating=5]
Never before have I given 5 stars to a review (I believe there is always room for improvement) but in the case of Victor/Victoria I can find no faults. Perfectly crafted and staged beautifully in the Vault (a tunnel of the Southwark Playhouse) the catwalk like stage means the show goes on right in front of you. How the dancers managed to avoid kicking audience members in the face I don’t know!
Set in Paris in the 1930’s, Victor/Victoria tells the story of Victoria (Anna Francolini), a starving singer, struggling to make a living. She meets Toddy (Richard Dempsey) a performer in a club Chez Lui who decides she should become a drag queen because they make so much money. They set out to transform her into Europe’s greatest female impersonator (when the truth is, she is really a woman). Victoria has two main obstacles to overcome in order to be a convincing man (her bosoms). Things spiral out of control when a King (Matthew Cutts) sees her performance one night and falls in love with her/him. King Marchand refuses to believe he has fallen in love with a man and Victoria has to make a choice between keeping her career or exposing herself as a fraud in order to keep the man she is in love with.
Anna Francolini plays the part of Victoria Grant/Count Victor Grazinski exquisitely. Her plain, yet endearing look lends itself perfectly to playing both genders. Michael Cotton who plays bodyguard ‘Squash’ is a familiar face, although if you saw him perform recently in Naked Boys Singing then it may not be his face that you remember! He plays the role wonderfully, showing his real acting merits. Every single member of this cast did an amazing job and everyone deserves a mention (but I could be here all day). Slick, jazzy dance numbers and tight choreography make the show a spectacle and flawless scene changes glide you through the piece.
Victor/Victoria is the campest thing I’ve seen since Priscilla, mixed in with a great, funny story and brilliant acting.
The Southwark Playhouse smells like an old war museum. Musty and moth-eaten but it works. Cheap drinks at the bar (if you can get to it) are a bonus although I suggest ordering your interval drinks to avoid queuing.
We all love the big, well-known classics in the West End but why not try something a bit off track and come see this show?
Victor/Victoria runs until 15th December and tickets are between £10-£27.50. Buy tickets here