Woman In White (Palace Theatre)
Lloyd Webber has done it again: our most consistently prolific contemporary
theatrical composer has come up trumps with an alternately brooding
and soaring new score for The Woman in White.
The main mystery that preoccupied me was
why the producers have gone to the expense of hiring Michael
Crawford and then buried him unrecognisably in a fat suit..."
replaces Les Miserables at the Palace Theatre, and like that
show, is directed by Trevor Nunn.
it shares other things in common with Les Mis: the books they are
based on were written just a year apart, in 1860 and 1861 respectively.
productions also feature a revolve that puts the stage into constant
circular motion; and there are some similarly sinister, darkly drawn
characters that propel a fight between good and evil, albeit in
a much more domestic, Anglicised setting.
the story follows three women in their dealings with the dastardly
Sir Pervical Glyde and his comic villain accomplice Count Fosco,
the latter complete with a menagerie of birds (one of whom unhappily
escaped its cage on press night) and rats.
have been asked not to reveal the source of the mystery at the heart
of the piece, but the main mystery that preoccupied me was why the
producers have gone to the expense of hiring Michael Crawford to
play Fosco and then buried him unrecognisably in a fat suit.
could have had Christopher Biggins and saved on the transformation
there's more nuance and vivacity to the trilogy of women, whom Maria
Friedman and American actresses Jill Paice (as her half sister who
marries Glyde) and Angela Christian (in the title role) beautifully
provides the absolute heartbeat (and blazing vocal fireworks) of
the piece, and together with the fine musical tapestry of Lloyd
Webber's score, makes this journey ultimately well worth travelling.
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