Gypsy is loosely based on the 1957 memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee, the famous striptease artist, and focuses on her mother, Rose, “the ultimate show business mother.” It follows the dreams and efforts of Rose to raise two daughters to perform onstage and casts an eye on the hardships of show business life. The character of Louise is based on Lee, and the character of June is based on Lee’s sister.
Rose approaches Herbie, a former manager to manage Louise and June. The girls grow up and they are now known as, “Dainty June and Her Farmboys”. Tulsa, one of the “Farmboys” confides in Louise in a new act he is working on and while Louise fantasizes in being part of the act with Tulsa, he elopes with June after she leaves a note saying that she is tired of the act. Rose concentrates on making Louise a star, but does everything come up roses for Rose and her family?
Taking on the role that Imelda Staunton has recently revived is Liz Berrisford. I knew as soon as I heard that Liz was to take this part that she would be magnificent in the part and she didn’t disappoint, and I wasn’t wrong. Perfect casting. By the end though you may find your emotions changing towards Momma Rose when you discover the motives behind her pushy stage mother persona.
Herbie, is played by Lee Costelow, and a welcome back to the Town Hall stage for Lee after a gap of six years. What took you so long, Lee?
Lucy Maden (Louise) literally matured on stage from the second fiddle to the main attraction as Gypsy Rose Lee the stripper, and what a great range of costumes for Lucy at the end of this show.
Anja Palmer (June) looked as if she was having a ball as Momma Rose’s golden child, and a very flexible performer she is.
Beth Barber (Baby June) and Lauren Honeysett (Baby Louise) gave way to the elder pairing by way of a clever dance routine which I’ve not seen on stage before. It works well in the films but was a clever transformation on stage.
Ashley Bright (Tulsa) showed off his nifty dance steps as well as that wonderful clear voice he has in the number “All I Need Is The Girl”.
Eve Taylor (Tessie Tura), Anita Benson (Mazeppa) and Aimee Chilton (Electra) provided one of many highlights as the three strippers with a gimmick in “You Gotta Get A Gimmick” routine.
A total cast of 32 including some really confident kids, Harriet Woodward, Charlie Ann and Tommy Mudge, Matthew Leeming, Luca and Noah Anastassiades, Scott Millar and Charlie Ward.
Produced and directed by John R Lewin. Another success under his belt.
We can thank Louise Smith for the wonderful choreography which was so well executed by all.
Musically the orchestra were crisp and clear. The acoustics at Loughborough Town hall are always excellent and under the musical direction of Vicki Hing, they brought out the magic of Jule Styne’s music while the cast delivered some classic words from the pen of Stephen Sondheim.
There are so many classic songs in this musical “Let Me Entertain You”, “Small World”, “Some People”, “All I Need Is The Girl”, “Together Wherever We Go”, “You Gotta Get A Gimmick” and of course “Everything’s Coming Up Roses”.
This musical is of the old school style musical but that should not mean that younger musical theatre fans should not come and see this because it has great appeal for everyone. Class will never go out of date.
Great costumes, brilliant songs, a good set design, nice visuals which moved the musical on smoothly and gave a working time line. Plus the amazing cast which made almost three hours seem a lot lot less.
“Gypsy” is at Loughborough Town Hall until Saturday 6 May 2017.