Sunset Boulevard – One of those musicals I’d always heard of but never knew anything about. That is until this week, when the incredible Curve Theatre unveiled their brand new perfectly polished production of the show.
Andrew Lloyd Webber is the well-known name accompanying this piece and his score once again provides the perfect base upon which to build a musical. Christopher Hampton and Don Black’s lyrics provide the perfect accompaniment and stunningly narrate this gripping story.
The musical is based in 1949 Hollywood, around the rise of the phenomenon which is motion picture with sound. Silent movies were heading out of fashion and unfortunately for Norma Desmond, so were their stars. When Joe Gillis, a young struggling writer turns up on her doorstep she seizes the opportunity to write herself a comeback production. She’d be the star, her fans would worship her again and she’d become the biggest name in Hollywood. Unfortunately for Norma, reality isn’t quite as glittery as it seems through her deranged haze of denial.
It really is gripping; with multiple interwoven storylines which arise as the plot thickens. I spent the latter half of the second act firmly paced on the very edge of my seat and the ending packed the punch I needed to disembark the emotional rollercoaster feeling satisfied.
Ria Jones captivates the audience as Norma and does so with sheer brilliance. ‘With one look’ gave me goosebumps and her final scene was completely mesmerising. Danny Mac impressed as Mr Gillis with surprisingly powerful vocals and a passionate portrayal. He appeared to be completely at home on that stage. Adam Pearce seriously impressed me with an unbelievable vocal range and Molly Lynch was just wonderful at Betty Schaefer. The rest of the cast formed an ensemble to be reckoned with and I must say that my favourite moments were those when everyone was on stage. The large group numbers really stood out to me and it was at these moments that Lee Proud’s spectacular choreography came to life.
Colin Richmond’s design was spectacular. With grace and ease the stage was transformed from Paramount Studios to drugstore, to the manor house on Sunset and each set was exquisite and impressive. Subtle projections by Douglas O’Connell added another dimension to the set, at times providing glances into Norma’s glory days which felt almost like a sneak peek into her mind. Together with excellent props and costuming and flawless direction this piece came to life in true style.
I was completely mesmerised by this production and have to say that Nikolai Foster and the Made at Curve team have hit the nail on the head yet again. Made at Curve productions continually amaze me and I can’t wait to see what’s yet to come. Sunset Boulevard is a beautifully moving production which is sure to win audiences over across the country as it embarks on its UK Tour.
Don’t miss out on this stunning piece. Click here for more details about the Sunset Boulevard UK Tour. If you have any questions, leave me a comment down below!!
*Production Images by Manuel Harlan