The Theatreguide.London Review
Piccadilly Theatre 2020
Not as great as its
producers would like you to believe or as bad as some reviews
suggest, this is a thoroughly enjoyable light entertainment that
should give its natural audience almost exactly what they want.
is, of course, based on the 1990 movie in which a wealthy workaholic,
needing a bit of arm candy for a week of business meetings,
inexplicably bypasses high-end escort agencies and hires a street
whore. She, of course, turns into Cinderella and he, of course, falls
in love with her and everyone, of course, lives happily ever after.
Actually, what you're
most likely to remember from the film are Julia
Roberts's Cinemascope-wide smile, the remarkable skill with which
Richard Gere wears a suit, the effortless way Hector Elizando steals
all his scenes by quietly underplaying the unflappable hotel manager,
and that one Roy Orbison song.
Pretty Woman The Musical
of these, or close approximations of them, with a few pluses and
To start with the best
thing about it, Aimie Atkinson lights
up the stage as tart-with-a-heart Vivian. She sings strongly, moves
sexily, and gives the character a sparky intelligence and wit, along
with just enough of a hint of little-girl innocence to make the fairy
tale work. And she has a great, really great smile.
Atkinson gets the
two best songs in the otherwise unmemorable score by Bryan Adams and
Jum Vallance. 'Anywhere But Here' helps convince us at the start that
there is more to the girl than her chosen profession might suggest,
and she makes the climactic 'I Can't Go Back' a country-flavoured
anthem of determination Dolly Parton would be proud to have written.
Danny Mac is, alas,
somewhat less impressive as Edward. He sings
prettily enough, but there is no character behind the words, and he
is even more wooden than the role calls for, leaving a real vacuum
for Atkinson to try to play against. And he doesn't even wear a suit
as impressively as Richard Gere. (To be fair, who does?)
Fortunately, as a sort
figure added to the musical, Bob Harms pops up in a variety of roles,
from Hollywood tour guide to hotel manager, and keeps putting back
the life Danny Mac keeps sucking out of the show. He sets and
sustains the happy fairy-tale tone and, in the best bit of Jerry
Mitchell's direction and choreography, dances a tango that is both
sexy and comic.
It's bright, it's colourful, it's high-energy, it's got a really attractive character and performance at the centre, and it translates the happy-fable spirit of the film to the stage. This is what its audience wants, and that audience is well-served
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