Gypsy, Savoy Theatre

GYPSY by Sondheim

The current revival of Gypsy is a vehicle for Imelda Staunton’s enormous talent and stage presence. The production started its life in Chichester last summer, and transferred into the Savoy Theatre, marking the first West End revival since the UK premiere in 1973. After reading all the rave reviews, I felt compelled to see the production. My mum managed to buy surprisingly reasonable stalls seats for £26 and with my sister we went for a girly night out to the theatre.

I was amazed to discover that Staunton has performed in every single show since April, that is eight times a week… and she fully intends to not miss a show before the run is up later this year. The piece is a study of parenthood and we watch as Rose (Staunton) desperately tries to achieve stardom for her two performing daughters. The girls transform from smiling kids trying to impress their “momma” to angry and frustrated young women trapped in a world they care little for. Does her suffocating mothering nurture or nauseate them?

Rose’s sidekick and love interest Herbie, played by Peter Davidson, is a sympathetic and convincing partner. Long suffering and kind, he bears the brunt of the backlash as he tries to love and support Rose and her family. Lara Pulver is a quietly striking older sister, with an alluringly lilting voice. The younger, bolder sister June certainly rises to the challenge of playing a typical ‘child stage star’. But really, everyone is chorus for the ebullient Imelda Staunton, who dominates the show from start to finish.

I enjoyed the quaint quirks of Jonathan Kent’s production, especially the transient sequence where the children performers turn to adults within one dance. The music is by Jule Styne with lyrics by the brilliant Stephen Sondheim, and I loved the opportunity to hear this theatrical partnership. Imelda Staunton is so powerful and inspiring on stage that everyone will leave feeling empowered by this leading lady.

Gypsy continues until 18 July, book tickets here.

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