Back in 2013, Titanic the Musical made its UK premiere at the Southwark Playhouse and received a plethora of rave reviews including four stars from me. Now, Titanic is back on stage at London’s Charing Cross Theatre and I went along to see how the production has changed.
Titanic is the true story of the maiden voyage of the unsinkable ship Titanic which set sail in 1912 and went on to hit an iceberg and do the unthinkable. It actually did sink. As an unsinkable ship, lifeboats were seen as unnecessary and so hundreds of lives were lost as the ship went down. Over the years, films have been released to try to capture some of the stories of those people on board and the horiffic experience they went through.
Claire Machin steals the show with her comedy performance as second class passenger Alice Beane who does everything in her power to mingle with the first class folk. Victoria Serra (as Kate McGowan) was wonderful to watch and Judith Street and Dudley Rodgers ensured there was not a dry eye in the house as the elderly couple Ida and Isidor Straus. Other notable performances came from Luke George, James Gant and Rob Houchen who all create their own magic as ship workers.
The Charing Cross Theatre was a little on the warm side the night I went along and it would have been wonderful if freezing cold air were pumped into the auditorium in the build up to the iceberg hitting, to really give audience members the immersive experience of what it must have felt like. In the 2013 Southwark Playhouse production, the names of all those who lost their lives scrolled across the floor of the theatre as people walked out which gave a more emotional feel than the canvas backdrop that was rolled down in this production but still gives the required effect.
Musically, Titanic has some wonderful songs and the sound in the Charing Cross Theatre is perfect, allowing the full effect of the music to be enjoyed. Lady’s Maid, The Proposal/The Night Was Alive the opening to act 2 Wake Up, Wake Up! were personal favourites of mine and The Blame was a great way to understand how the three men in charge would most likely have tried to pin the blame on each other for the catastrophe that has unfolded.
Titanic the musical may not have Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet and an eleven o’clock number from Celine Dion but it is a beautifully told story of the tragic events that happened in 1912, with some brilliant songs and layers to the story that you may not experience by watching the film.
Reviewed by West End Wilma
Photo: Scott Rylander
TITANIC plays at the Charing Cross Theatre until 6 August 2016