Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Gypsy - stomping at The Savoy !

Two Roses & Mrs Lovetts: 
Angela & Imelda
Its a blast. A day later we are still on that high one gets from being blown away by a super show that exceeds one's expectations. I only knew GYPSY from the 1962 film so seeing it on stage was an eye-opener yesterday. It follows the film exactly, or I should say the film follows the original show, but the current stage show in London is fast paced, zippy, very cinematic and works on every level. The star of the show of course is that bundle of dynamite Imelda Staunton who pulls all the stops out. The audience rises as one to give her a standing ovation after "Rose's Turn" - its a huge role, with lots of business - she probably has a sit-down and a cup of tea while the Three Strippers do their "You Gotta Have A Gimmick" - they are dynamite too - and then Louise "entertains" us. Lara Pulver (whom I saw last in SHERLOCK) scores too as Gypsy and her transition during "Let Me Entertain You" is also expertly done.

I last saw Imelda on stage, well over a decade ago now, as Miss Adelaide in GUYS AND DOLLS at the National, and an indelible memory is of her dancing alone on the stage, with the audience egging her on. Since then of course she stunned us in VERA DRAKE and so much more, like the recent PRIDE and that lovely tv film last Christmas, THAT DAY WE SANG, and she voices Aunt Lucy in PADDINGTON, and we liked her in SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, CRANFORD and others. Like Julie Walters, Alison Steadman and Brenda Blethyn, she has worked her way up to becoming one of our senior actresses, and also has that Mike Leigh association.  National Treasure status beckons. 
GYPSY has a great company, the children are all perfect and the transition to adult is marvellously handled, its a long show too as we settle down to the big climax with those three great numbers: "You Gotta Have A Gimmick", "Let Me Entertain You" and "Rose's Turn". What a show but what a pedigree: book by Arthur Laurents, music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Sondheim; this production is expertly directed by Jonathan Kent. Also perfect here is Dan Burton  (right) who lights up the stage as Tulsa, with his great number "All I Need Is The Girl". Dan has been in lots of shows and is simply terrific, shame he is not in the second half.
Dame Angela Lansbury was at the opening night this week too - she also played Mamma Rose, 40 years ago. This GYPSY was already a hit at Chichester Theatre last year, and should play to packed houses here. I hope Imelda is resting up today, after two shows yesterday. She is also on TV here on Tuesday in Paul O'Grady's chatshow - Paul loves GYPSY so that should be a blast. I may even have to put on the movie again before too long ... The essence of musical theatre then, up there with FUNNY GIRL in 1966 or A CHORUS LINE or - even with the cramped leg space at the Savoy, and worth every penny of that very expensive ticket. It follows on nicely too from Sondheim's ASSASSINS seen a month or so ago ... Initially booked till July, it is now going on until November! 
For Stan Rippon who would have loved this (he loved the 1962 film and soundtrack).


  1. My friend Colin tweeted Dan Burton re my review, thanks Colin, I hope he looks at the web version - as above - rather than the smartphone version !

  2. I am so very, very jealous that you were able to see this, and delighted that it exceeded your expectations. How brilliant that Angela Lansbury was able to catch the show.

    Nothing against Barbra, who of course is one of a kind, but since her proposed screen version seems to be stagnant...and quite frankly the time that she could believably pass for the mother of pre-teens is past wouldn't be wonderful if Imelda could recreate Rose in a film.

  3. Hopefully, I will see it later this year and hopefully Imelda will still be in it. I saw her not so long ago as Mrs Lovett in SWEENEY TODD and she was magnificent there too (winning an Olivier). I saw Angela in it years ago and she too got a standing ovation every night after Rose's Turn. Very nice review.

  4. Indeed Joel, it was interesting following the Streisand saga about it - she rang Arthur Laurents about it one Sunday morning as he was just about to sit down to his weekly big breakfast, so he told her to call him back, and she did. Of course he had known her since her early days.

    Martin, better try and get to it before August, as Lara Pulver is only signed to it till then, Imelda may be too - I don't think she would want to do this demanding role all year until November ....

  5. Great show. Great movie. I'd give anything to see Imelda in it. Hopefully, it will be preserved - if not on film, at least on DVD.

  6. I've just downloaded iStripper, and now I can watch the hottest virtual strippers on my desktop.