Gypsy is based on the actual memoirs of the famous burlesque dancer Gypsy Rose Lee,
but this particular story makes a focus on her mother, Rose.
Rose, who I like to describe as a 'momager' to the extreme,
will stop at nothing to bring her children, June and Louise, to fame.
Choreographing a few [terrible, but hilarious] musical acts, she grabs a couple of outsiders as well as Lousie
to make up an ensemble to center around Baby June, who, in her eyes, is the 'star of the family.'
June becomes frazzled with the constant pushing and takes off.
An unfortunate circumstance for Rose to realize she has a second daughter,
but nonetheless, she grabs Louise and seizes the opportunity to make her into a star.
There is always a buzz about big shows coming to the West End,
but I have never heard so much praise for a performance than for Imelda Staunton as Mama Rose.
Obviously I had to see for myself to make sure they were right.
And yes. They were right.
Imelda Staunton is loud, raucous, and determined.
She lit up the stage with energy and carried the show beautifully.
Her performance of Rose's Turn is one of my favorite performance I've seen.
Lara Pulver takes on the role of Louise
and makes the beautiful transfer from a shy and untalented daughter
into the fierce, confident, and grown-up Gypsy Rose Lee.
The ensemble was fantastic as well.
It was a different set up than I had seen,
where each of the ensemble only made a major appearance in one act.
The show was extremely centralized, with Imelda and Lara on stage more on their own
Matilda the Musical is based on the novel of the same name by Roald Dahl.
I'm going to hope that you had a childhood and already know this classic story;
five year old Matilda, blessed with a magical brilliance beyond belief,
shows that you can be small and still have the power to stand up to the bullies that are knocking you down.
The musical opened when I lived here in 2012, and for some reason I put it off
until I was headed back to the states and missed it completely.
Very similar to my Sweeney Todd horror story - which really just sums it up to that being my year of stupidity when it came to good theatre.
This show had a lot of hype when it came out - both in the West End,
and when it made it's debut on Broadway.
It's still got a great reputation, which only told me that I needed to FINALLY get to it.
All that I expected was children. A lot of children.
And that's exactly what the show was.
A ton of insanely adorable, and freakishly talented children running around
and making this show absolutely incredible.
Anna-Louise Knight was in the role of Matilda for the performance,
and I swear this girl can't be any older than 8.
She was SO tiny, but full of spunk and ferocity - such a joy to watch her jumping around on stage.
The ensemble of kids gave off just as much energy -
you could really tell they were dancing their little hearts out, having the time of their lives.
It's one thing to see a group of actors who are so solidly talented,
but to see children with that kind of ability is something else. Amazing, really.
Will Kenning was on for Miss Trunchbull,
and I didn't even realize he was the 1st cover until I was told after the show.
He was everything you'd want for the role - hideous, psychotic, child-abusing,
and a ridiculous riot to watch.
Adding to this was some of the sharpest choreography I have seen,
which I think is what really sold the show for me.
That, and the witty and hilarious score supplied by the brilliantly clever Tim Minchin.
To put it simply - these songs are catchy as hell.
I knew it was going to be a great show, but it really exceeded all of the expectations that I had.
There aren't many shows that can completely nail it - story, set, score, cast - and this show did just that.
If I could recommend something to become a priority on your to-do list, Matilda is definitely the show.