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Posts Tagged ‘Lisa Davina Phillip’

Well, I saved this one for the weekend visit of a friend, as it’s based on one of her favourite films, hence the somewhat belated visit 5 months after opening. In fact, I might have been the only one in the audience who’s never seen the film – this is clearly chick-flick-on-stage a la Dirty Dancing. Fortunately it’s a whole lot better than Dirty Dancing in Matthew Warchus staging and Rob Howell’s design (with terrific projections from Jon Driscoll).

It’s a lot more than a love story and I was pleasantly surprised by its depth. Much of it takes place in the lovers apartment, but when it moves to the streets the staging becomes spectacular. Paul Kieve’s special effects are excellent, crucial to the story and slickly executed. In fact, its impossible to fault the production – this is premiere league stagecraft. On first hearing, I found Dave Stewart’s music a bit bland and formulaic, but I didn’t dislike it and I suspect it would benefit from more listening.

Both leads – Richard Fleeshman and Caissie Levy – are excellent, though on Saturday they were well and truly upstaged by understudy Lisa Davina Phillip as Oda Mae who was in great voice, exceptionally funny and moving when she needed to be. Another understudy, Paul Ayers as Carl, acquitted himself extremely well too.

The slickness is, to some extent, at the price of heart, because it didn’t move this old softie as much as it probably should, but for spectacular staging it’s hard to beat. A very pleasant surprise indeed.

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