The 1959 Broadway hit was loosely based upon the memoirs of striptease legend Gypsy Rose Lee. It is, however, not Gypsy herself that is the star of this show, but her Momma Rose – the ultimate pushy stage mother. ‘Everything’s Coming Up Roses’ and ‘Rose’s Turn’ are perhaps the best known numbers in a songbook bursting with hits.
A magnificent Momma Rose: Imelda Staunton
Imelda Staunton still reigns supreme in the role of Rose, cementing her position as current first lady of the West End stage. She and director Jonathan Kent are an indomitable duo in the London musical theatre, with the double whammy success of first Sweeny Todd then Good People. Now, following flurry of praise from Gypsy's fist run at Chichester Festival Theatre, the influential regional venue that known for premiering stellar shows, the inevitable West End transfer is a storming success.
In taking on this iconic role, Staunton places herself in the illustrious company of Broadway royalty such as Ethel Merman, Angea Lansbury and Bernadette Peters – rather large shoes to fill, but Staunton succeeds with pizazz. Though small in stature, she has a stonkingly powerful voice. But it is the strength of Staunton's background in drama and comedy (Vera Drake, Harry Potter) as well as musicals that makes her Momma Rose such a knock out. She is masterful in drawing out the ambivalence and emotional instability alongside the big song and dance numbers. Staunton describes the show as "a complex story about mums, daughters, show business and the emptiness of show business and the aspiration of a mother to fulfil her dreams and her daughters’ dreams.”
A welcome return to the West End: Gypsy 2015 revival
It is this depth of character that makes Gyspy such a timeless blockbuster show: it's an exuberant musical bursting with songbook classics, with dramatic sustenance and catchy hooks in equal measure. It's a demanding show, so tricky to pull off that it hasn't graced the London stage for over 40 years. So this production, and the suitably talented team of cast and creatives, provides a rare treat for musical fans and, for the uninitiated, an introduction to the best of Broadway.
|What||Gypsy, Savoy Theatre|
Savoy Court , Strand, London, WC2R 0ET | MAP
|Nearest tube||Charing Cross (underground)|
28 Mar 15 – 28 Nov 15, 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM
|Website||Click here to book via Gypsy the Musical|