Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Review: Sunset Boulevard at Milton Keynes Theatre

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical Sunset Boulevard is on its UK tour! With Glenn Close’s original West End Understudy Ria Jones as Norma Desmond. Ria had the chance to show her true colours when Glenn was taken ill and couldn’t perform. Audiences were wowed by her and now she takes on the role in her own right, visiting Milton Keynes this week and bringing a taste of Hollywood with her.

The story is quite simple, based on the 1950 Billy Wilder film, it follows a faded silent screen star who wishes nothing more than to be adored once again. Norma Desmond lives alone with her loyal Butler and upon a chance meeting with the runaway writer Joe Gillis (Danny Mac) she sees her chance to return to the screen. Norma is rich, terribly lonely and possibly a bit mad and you see her character change subtly throughout the show.

Ria Jones was terrific, her scenes and songs were perfect – emotional and funny - and the audience warms to her character as soon as she finishes her first solo. Danny mac was brilliant as Gillis and Adam Pearce, playing Max Von Meyerling (Norma’s Butler) was perfectly charming and a bit creepy at the same time! The music was superb, as to be expected by Andrew Lloyd Webber and was well played by the orchestra.

My favourite scenes were those of Norma and Joe, I did feel the rest of the scenes were fillers to keep the show moving and I didn’t care for any of the other characters. I’m not a fan of English attempting the American accent unless done perfectly and I’m not sure if they’ve quite cracked it. That being said, it was a great watch with a constantly moving stage set and a few projectors giving us snippets of old silent movies and newspaper headlines. The final scene with Norma, who has found her spotlight at last (although perhaps not how you might have imagined…) ended with an audience standing ovation. I’m also a little envious of Norma’s luxurious eclectic wardrobe.

For tickets, go to - Sunset Boulevard is in town until Saturday 2nd December.

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