Photo Credit: Manuel Harlan
 Sunset Boulevard UK Tour
Curve Theatre, Leicester
★1/2
Sunset Boulevard is the center point in telling the story of Norma Desmond, a screen goddess of the silent screen era whose blighted comeback results in tragedy. The classic 1950 film from Billy Wilder is transformed into a stage show by Andrew Lloyd Webber, and has been given a crisp flare from Leicester’s very own Nikolai Foster. The musical follows the tragedy of an ageing, volatile celebrity forgotten by her fans and desperately seeking a return to her glory days of fame. She hires an ambitious writer Joe Gillis who is bitter that his chance of success has yet to be successful. It’s a constant seesaw of who is using who? 

Ria Jones, known for hitting the front pages when she took over the role as Norma when illness forced Glenn Close to pull out of the show temporarily, has become the title role in her own right. She claims the core of this performance in her title role, claiming the entire show single-handedly. Her performance almost felt effortless, but was an obvious role that had every bit of heart behind it. Her emotive and fulfilling vocal range has her audience enthralled. The silence is almost defining during her rendition of 'As If We Never Said Goodbye'. 


Photo Credit: Manuel Harlan

Photo Credit: Manuel Harlan
Supporting such a strong female lead is left to the task of Danny Mac, who plays Joe Gillis. He provides the charm and chiseled features to turn Norma's head, especially when the opportunity to seize her career is available. Norma does provide the centerpiece of the performance, but Joe is the main thread that brings the story together. We are able to see the former Strictly Come Dancing strut his ballroom moves with flare and poise. Amongst the strong company is Adam Pearce as Max, his vocal range is sensational, as well as Molly Lynch as Betty Schaefer, her youthful and optimism to become a young writer leads her astray from her husband to be. She becomes captivated by Joe Gillis' creativity and charm, a wonderful addition to the cast and story. 

It's also important to address Colin Richmond's design, with his fabulous play in zoom and transitions through the hurried plot. His design accomplishes a great relationship with Ben Cracknell's lighting design as well as a 16-piece orchestra which provides the heart of this gorgeous musical. Such an iconic snapshot in movie history, the UK Tour of Sunset Boulevard is well worth a trip to the theatre and an absolute success of a new musical production. 


Even though there weren't any specific big dance numbers within Sunset Boulevard, choreographer Lee Proud enabled the musical to have a flare and energy about it that made it still for an interesting watch. 

This review was also written for the Underdog Reviews website which I now contribute to. The reviews aren't copied but are both written by me. You can find my review on their website as well as more great reviews from over the UK by visiting their website here


thanks for reading,
*I was gifted this ticket in exchange for a review, but all words and opinions are my own.