Gypsy (West End) Review
Momma Rose – Imelda Staunton
Louise – Lara Pulver
Herbie – Peter Davison
Tulsa – Dan Burton
June – Gemma Sutton
Show Date – Wednesday 22nd April 2015 (Matinee)
Since I can remember I have wanted to see Gypsy on the stage, I love so many of the songs and the way they are performed. So when I eventually saw that a revival was looking promising in London I kept close attention during its run in Chichester and pretty much kept my fingers crossed for a West End transfer. This happened and it only opened last week and my trip for the show had been booked since January!
The fact that Imelda Staunton is Momma Rose was just an added bonus for me really. I’ve always been such a fan of the film and even watched the Bette Midler attempt a few times! At the Tony Awards in 2008 I had the honour of Patti LuPone singing Everything’s Coming Up Roses, which was very special indeed. So to eventually see the show after a 40 year absence in the West End, starring none other than Dame Angela Lansbury another favourite of mine.
The show runs at a very good pace and the transition from the children to growing up was done in a very clever way during a dance number with a quick change. This also really helps to show just how long they have been trying to sell the act for, and that it certainly is becoming very stale. Rose isn’t going to just give up though, we’ve heard the songs and seen her outbreaks.
Momma Rose is a stage mother who thinks she is doing the best for her two daughters June and Louise, pushing them into show business and has plenty of dreams of making them stars. Well to begin with June and then focuses on Louise. In this though Gypsy Rose Lee is born and with that Rose may have just created her equal or a monster, I guess that’s something you can decide on. One thing that is for sure even though you don’t really know why but you will feel sorry for Rose in the end, it is quite a strange thing when you consider how she has been acting throughout. How can you not when everyone keeps leaving her?
With so many catchy songs and funny moments the show will take you in and that makes the emotional and heart touching moments even better, because you care about the characters. It is built up so you a rooting for well everybody really, even if that does mean going separate ways in the end. You want them to do well, even if Momma Rose doesn’t agree.
The acting and singing are fantastic from all of the cast. Imelda Staunton really blew me away with her version of Momma Rose it really is something else from that first moment she burst on the stage from the side of the stalls setting the scene. To the absolutely fantastic Rose’s Turn at the end, so many emotions flying around with that part. She is giving it her all, nearly in tears as Rose shows what she really would have done, hence trying to live it through her girls. Honestly I don’t know if I will ever see a performance on this level from someone on stage, it really is that good!
Lara Pulver is a fantastic talent, she really does well as Louise/Gypsy Rose Lee holding her own towards the end as she grows into the role and her character changes. Some brilliant moments between Pulver and Staunton. The final moments are so heartwarming and lovely it will make you smile and also want to cry all at the same time.
Peter Davison is such a good Herbie, likeable and delivers the lines so well for the different moments and is good with the songs as well. He also manages to mix emotions that you will feel sorry for him as well, you can see he loves Rose and wants nothing more than a normal life, but does not push hard enough to get it from her, if that would even be possible of course. The three performance brilliantly together in “Together Wherever We Go”.
“You Gotta Get A Gimmick” is an absolute highlight and done in an even more hilarious why that I could have imagined. It certainly had the audience laughing out loud from start to finish. It’s certainly a musical theatre number that you just have to see live, no I am not being biased considering how much I love that song. (Mainly because of the performance on Hey, Mr Producer).
Although I was waiting for “Rose’s Turn” which is probably a strange thing to say considering it is the final number. But that’s the money song isn’t it. It’s the hairs on the back of your neck standing up and that certainly does happen. “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” was fantastic as well. Actually it all was and Staunton was even better than I expected her to be, which is unreal!
Sometimes a problem with wanting to see a show so much and for so long will leave you slightly disappointed . . . This was not this case for me with Gypsy. I loved every second of it. From the moment the overture started (which was long) and had the different music in for the songs I had the shivers of excitement.
It has only just been announced that they have extended the booking until Nov this year so why not make Gypsy your show to see if you are in London? Curtain up … Light the lights … This show hits nothing but the heights. Yes that doesn’t make a massive amount of sense but you can see what I was doing with the lyrics! I am still smiling now what a fantastic show, the set was brilliant as well with constant changes to really make everything appear in certain ways.
Imelda Staunton (and cast) deserve every single plaudits that they have already and had and those they will continue to get during the run if this truly magnificent show.