BWW Reviews: VICTOR/VICTORIA, Southwark Playhouse, Nov 1 2012
“Hetrosexuality isn’t normal. It’s just common.”
So said Dorothy Parker, and Victor/Victoria at the Southwark Playhouse continues in that vein with its tongue firmly in cheek and a magnum of innuendo.
With Dita Von Teese dressing up as Victor/Victoria for Halloween and this new version of the show, it seems challenging stereotypes and perceptions of gender with a lot of feathers, sequins and champagne is truly of the moment.
Written originally by Blake Edwards (Pink Panther), the 1982 film version starred Julie Andrews as Victoria, which are hard stilettos to fill but Anna Francolini is stunning as the game but tortured cross dresser.
Her solos Crazy World and Living in The Shadows are haunting and yet she also pulls off the big song and dance numbers like the famous Le Jazz Hot! avec panache.
Trying to steal her spotlight, and with some winning lines, is Caroll Todd or Toddy, played by Richard Dempsey.
He is the loveable gay has-been who rescues Victoria with a cunning plan, she just has to pretend to be a male impersonating a woman and they will both get rich quick.
Inevitably there are pitfalls to this proposal, including the meeting of Chicago gangster King Marchand (Matthew Cutts) and his girlfriend Norma (the very sexy Kate Nelson).
Victoria and The King fall in love (as with the film, suspend disbelief here – why would intelligent feminist Victoria choose the knucklehead King? Never got that) but will she choose her man or her career - or can a women really have it all in 1930s Paris?
The staging and choreography are marvellous, evoking a glamorous cabaret club and the company dancers and singers are fabulous.
This is a feel good musical of the highest camp with a feather headdress on top, thankfully not starring Alex Reid.