Telling Willy Russell’s infamous story of twins separated at birth, the narrative is enjoyable to watch unfold and the questions of class and the barriers, or advantages, it offers in British society are more than valid. However, one can not help but question how and why the script has been adapted to musical format? Surely if Russell’s material were to remain as a play, and not a musical, its impact would be more true and in turn prove to be more tragic.
With the exception of its most famous tune, ‘Tell me it’s not true’ the score is plagued with dated synthesized notes and erratic lyrics; it becomes hard to not dread yet another mention of Marilyn Monroe before the conclusion of the over-long running time of three hours.
X-Factors Nikki Evans proves to be a likeable Mrs. Johnstone and takes on the role with a big heart, as well as a big voice. Sadly, the score does not bring many opportunities to witness the power of Evan’s vocals but what she can do with it, she does well.
Whilst I may remain skeptic as to the validity of the popularity of this production there is no doubt that it still remains in hearts of the theatre going public, and I am sure we will see it in London’s West End and the touring circuit for a good few years to come.
- Ben Wooldridge