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BWW Review: SUNSET BOULEVARD IN CONCERT - AT HOME, Curve Theatre, Leicester

The concert revival stars Ria Jones, Danny Mac and Molly Lynch

BWW Review: SUNSET BOULEVARD IN CONCERT - AT HOME, Curve Theatre, Leicester

BWW Review: SUNSET BOULEVARD IN CONCERT - AT HOME, Curve Theatre, LeicesterLike many UK venues, Leicester's Curve Theatre has had to adapt to the everchanging COVID-19 situation quickly. Having just transformed their two theatres into one enormous "in-the-round" space, the Curve's concert revival of their hit 2017 production of Sunset Boulevard was transformed into a fully online show to view at home, directed by Nikolai Foster.

Based on the 1950 film of the same name, Sunset Boulevard revolved around Norma Desmond (Ria Jones), a faded star of the silent film era, and young screenwriter, Joe Gillis (Danny Mac) and how a chance encounter throws them together. The musical, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, and lyrics/book by Don Black and Christopher Hampton.

Jones glows as Norma Desmond. Stylish and simply sublime. She initially developed the bygone Hollywood star's character when the show was presented at Lloyd Webber's annual Sydmonton Festival in 1991 but didn't actually formally star in the role until the 2017 Curve production.

Mac is suitably suave as the frustrated young screenwriter. He strides around the arena with command and poise at every turn.

Molly Lynch makes a charming Betty Schaefer, a budding writer trying to help Gillis get his work seen. Adam Pearce also gives an excellent performance as Max von Mayerling, who we meet at Desmond's butler.

Colin Richmond costumes are gorgeous, from Mac's flashy suits to Jones' glittering gowns. Under musical supervision by Stephen Brooker, the 16-piece orchestra sound superb, bringing Lloyd Webber and David Cullen's dramatic orchestrations to life.

Lee Proud's choreography makes use of every inch of the Curve Theatre auditorium and recreates the hustle and bustle of Hollywood you don't even notice that the actors are socially distanced. The empty and distanced seats make the delivery of certain numbers like "As If We Never Said Goodbye" by Jones particularly poignant.

Ben Cracknell's lighting shows off the theatre in a beautiful way, as does the swooping and dynamic camera design - by Douglas O'Connell. You forget you're watching a concert at times; it's so cinematic in scope - bring on that long-promised film adaption!

The book takes on a new light in these COVID times with struggling creatives doing anything they can to get by in the cruel world of film - unsettling power dynamics are often the subject of a Lloyd Webber musical.

Stunning performances on a unique stage of epic proportions, Sunset Boulevard In Concert - At Home should not be missed.

Sunset Boulevard at Curve Theatre, Leicester is available to stream until 9 January

Photo credit: Marc Brenner

Check out our interview with Danny Mac about the show

Check out our interview with Chris Stafford about transforming the Curve Theatre into a COVID-safe performance space


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