Gypsy the Musical

Never before have a felt so compelled to give a standing ovation at the interval of a musical before, but then I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing Imelda Staunton playing the role of Mama/Rose in Gypsy at the Savoy Theatre, a role that she was born to play…just wow!

Gypsy focuses on the relationship between a pushy mother (more commonly known nowadays as a ‘stage mom’), her daughters and their agent, Herbie. Rose has a dream that her daughter, Baby Jane, will be a star and devotes everything to making her one, but when Jane elopes with another member of the act to start their own show, Rose’s focus shifts to untalented daughter, Louise.

At first, I thought the show might’ve been stolen by the children’s cast, in particular the young Baby Jane and her adorable (and highly irritating) squeaky voice and high kicks, but as soon as Staunton opened her mouth to sing the iconic I Had a Dream, I knew why she had landed this role. Staunton’s performance was faultless. She gave the audience the entire package; the faultless Seattle accent, impeccable comic timing, overbearing motherly love, tender moments with Herbie and eventual breakdown pushing away everyone she loves.

The supporting cast were just as talented displaying a range of dance skills such as ballet, tap and jazz to belting out the show tunes everyone will recognise. Even the three aging burlesque artists were a joy to watch, despite middle-aged midriffs and risqué costume choices. The staging and lighting were clever, often using the actual audience in the role of the audience, breaking down the fourth wall commonly associated with musicals, and the use of strobing and video to signify the passing of time or travelling was highly effective.

But it was Imelda Staunton’s performance, her energy, her confidence in her voice and in particular her sassy yet heart-wrenching breakdown at the finale of the show, for me to re-categorise this production from just another London musical to without doubt the best show I have seen in London. And there’s only a limited time to see it as ‘Gypsy’ must end 28th November 2015.

To book your tickets click here!

Kate Stone
Kate Stone
Kate Stone is the editor of Funny Women and an award-winning script writer. She has written comedy sketches for the BBC's 100 Women project and created the Funny Women Awards Comedy Shorts category.

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