I really, really, hate birthdays. Spending mine at the theatre made this year’s a lot more bearable – we conveniently set off for London before tea time, meaning the tedious necessity of singing Happy Birthday was skipped entirely – thank goodness … yes, I am a birthday scrooge!
I was gifted tickets to the current London production of Gypsy (not a surprise … I hate surprises … I booked the tickets …). I’d heard a lot of good things since its inception at Chichester last year and it definitely didn’t disappoint!
Gypsy’s infamous plot revolves around a show business mother, Mama Rose, played by Imelda Staunton. We see her forcefully navigate her children – extrovert Baby June and shy Louise (played by Lara Pulver) – around the late 20’s American Vaudeville circuit with a degree of somewhat justified misfortune. Culminating in a stream of unexpected success for the obvious underdog, with multiple hurdles and losses along the way; Gypsy explores the relationship between a (dissatisfied, ambitious, dominant, driven, selfish) mother, her children and her own ambitions. Rose is the core of the show – despite her floors, she’s an incredibly endearing character – I was rooting for her throughout this book driven musical.
Book led musical aren’t usually my favourites and performances within a production (i.e. a play within a play) tend to really get under my skin. But Gypsy’s book is coherent and well paced – the eclectic, often recognisable, ear worm, musical numbers (‘Everything’s Coming up Roses’, ‘Rose’s Turn’ and ‘Together Wherever We Go’ to name but a few) seamlessly slot in. I adored it.
This Production of Gypsy
Imelda Staunton really is a tour de force, she effortlessly snaps between perfectly delivered dialogue and powerful vocals. A phenomenal actress with a strong voice to match – you feel a sense of awe mixed with solid security while watching her perform. Backed up by an equally impressive adult and child ensemble cast this production of Gypsy really sets the bar high.
My Verdict on Gypsy
This musical is an exquisite mixture of frivolous fun and relatable angst, it didn’t leave me with that all consuming, elated, ‘you have to see this’ feeling, but my mind thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated the experience (… if that makes any sense!). Definitely worth a ticket to witness Imelda Staunton’s magic in the flesh … I give Gypsy a rating of 4/5.