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Review Roundup: Curve Leicester's Streaming SUNSET BOULEVARD IN CONCERT

What did the critics think?

Leicester's Curve theatre is now streaming a virtual version of Sunset Boulevard in Concert. The production was performed by the company in the newly configured auditorium and filmed in HD for audiences to watch from the comfort of their own homes.

Joining the previously announced Ria Jones as Norma Desmond and Danny Mac as Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard will be a host of original company members from Curve's award-winning 2017 touring production. Molly Lynch will reprise her role as Betty Schaefer, Adam Pearce returns as Max Von Mayerling, Dougie Carter as Artie Green and Carl Sanderson as Cecil B DeMille.

Let's see what the critics are saying...

Fiona Scott, BroadwayWorld: 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.

Clive Davis, The Times: It's not quite a stage musical, not quite a film. And it works superbly. The director Nikolai Foster's reworking of Andrew Lloyd Webber's show (which is itself a reinvention of a classic movie) about the power of nostalgia is, in its way, even more audacious.

Chris Wiegand, The Guardian: The performance that stands out, and manages to capture both the musical's romanticism and the movie's darkness, is Adam Pearce as Max Von Mayerling, Desmond's fiercely protective servant and former husband. Pearce's rumbling baritone reaches an achingly devotional high note as he insists she is still the greatest star of all, even though he is the only one writing her fan letters.

Alex Wood, WhatsOnStage: The result, as you can probably tell, is a joy to watch. The team at Curve have certainly created a "hybrid" - something distinctly novel, neither film nor filmed stage show. Interestingly, a piece that may not have ever existed had the lockdown not come to pass. It may rankle the theatre purists but as a feat of ingenuity, but it stands unparalleled in both scale and success.

Douglas Mayo, British Theatre: I've seen several different settings of Sunset Boulevard over the years with each having its relative merits, but the closure of the theatre to audiences as a result of the pandemic has allowed for Foster, his team and the cast to really fly with this production. It is nothing short of an event, and I would go as far as to say the best-streamed event I have seen this year.

Selena Begum, The Upcoming: While the performances are good, there is a certain lack of wholeness to the production in the simplicity of the set design (or lack thereof). However, overlaid montages of Hollywood, skilfully implemented by the visual team, replace these transitions. With the backstage and camera crew visible, as well as the lighting rigs and orchestra, it is undoubtedly a unique adaptation, and well executed despite the missing scenery. The production includes an overwhelming 32 songs, but the drama is a little deficient; nonetheless, Lloyd Webber's music is effective, particularly Overture, which hauntingly reflects Norma's melancholia.

Sam Marlowe, iNews: Nikolai Foster's production cleverly combines economy and lavishness. Colin Richmond's gorgeous costumes and Lee Proud's snappy choreography supply period glamour, but as seven cameras swoop into all corners of the auditorium, we also get to see the mechanics behind the magic: the huge lighting rig, the offstage actors, the orchestra in the stalls.

Roberto Silman, Brinkwire: Ria Jones, who played the part at the 1991 Sydmonton Festival, is more quirky than violent as Desmond, her warmth appearing purer for Gillis than that of Desmond's Gloria Swanson (with a look and c With both the hands of Jones and her eyes flickering with silent movie magic, the song New Ways to Dream has the benefit of showing us this Desmond in close-up. Foster tells the tale with split screens, freewheeling shots, and direct addresses from Mac and Jones, while the video production of Douglas O'Connell overlays the action on stage with street scenes and, less effectively, with parts of the script.

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