Review of 'Gypsy'


Gypsy is the story of the famous stripper Gypsy Rose Lee's mother, Rose who is played with incredible passion here by Imelda Staunton. Rose's desire for her two daughters, June (Lauren Henson/Islad Huggins-Barr/Scarlet Roche playing the young June and Lauren Hall playing her as an adult) and Louise (Rose Walker/Lara Wolington playing the young Louise and Gemma Sutton playing her as an adult), to succeed in the theatre is the theme here with Rose refusing to let them grow up and blind to their personal needs. Rose is often abandoned with those who get fed up with her (including her previous three husbands) with the story coming to a head when her little theatre troupe of not-so-young “children” all decide to leave her at once…including the apple of her eye, her precious June. Louise is left along with their friendly manager, Herbie (Peter Davison who you may recognize as one of the previous Dr Who's or as playing the brother in the James Herriot television show a number of years ago) to pick up the pieces and chase Rose's unstoppable dream of being famous in the theatre. Knowing that Louise goes on to become Gypsy Rose Lee it is no surprise as the lengths that she goes to in order to see this come true…

The staging is simple but incredibly effective with the marquee lights around the arch of the stage but the stage itself being pitch black with “floating” sets appearing and disappearing at will. The forced perspective of the sets gives a depth to the small stage that would otherwise be missing. The musical itself is fairly basic as far as music is concerned with only a couple of well known numbers, noteably, “Let Me Entertain You” (no, not Robbie Williams), and “Everything is Coming Up Roses”. It is what I would call a “classical musical” along the likes of Oklahoma and Funny Girl. The key in Gypsy is the story and what happens because of Rose's personality and drive for success - What it does to her and those around her.

The cast are incredible with Imelda Staunton giving a truly mesmerising, manic, passionate, and energetic performance. She dominates the stage and the audience's attention any time she is on it with this larger than life character. Though a musical, Stauton's voice is not that great but it is not intended to be here - it is, however, full of passion and brings the story to life, after all, this is really her musical, not Gypsy Rose Lee's…Gemma Sutton as Louise though is also played remarkably well here with the right tone taken as the child of such a demanding mother. As Gypsy Rose Lee her shunning of her mother is all the more believable yet played with the correct amount of humanity - She is not a monster and does not forget her mother no matter how frustrating she might be.

Stauton's valedictory numbers at the end left the audience in tears with the standing ovation following certainly deserved. Amazing. Stunning.

Rating: “I have absolutely no complaints”

Review Date: 2015-11-03

The Savoy Theatre

Location: London (England)

Address: Strand, London WC2R 0ET

Public Transport: TUBE

Telephone: +44 (0) 844 871 7687


With the entrance located in the forecourt of the magnificent Savoy Hotel you would be forgiven to think the Savoy is a tiny theatre but as you descend the stairs and enter the theatre proper you can see it is a theatre the equal of many west end stages. The lobbies are tiny and often crowded but it has a sense of old-time grandeur. The plain panelled walls are covered in silver which, evidently, is sympathetic to the original decor (the theatre was rebuilt and restored after a fire in 1990).

The theatre has always been the home of the D'Oyly Carte “Gilbert and Sullivan” opera troupe and it often hosts these productions. Shorter running pieces are often to be seen here with very few long running shows. The shows tend to vary as well including plays, opera and musicals in equal measure though many are with the bigger names headlining.