The new year got off to a fantastic start with our very first Group Outing of the year to End of The Rainbow at Trafalgar Studios. With rave reviews, talk of spontaneous standing ovations and theatregoers coming along for a second and even third time, expectations for this production were certainly high and definitely met.

It’s December 1968 and Judy Garland (Tracie Bennett) is about to make her comeback… again. In a London hotel room with her young new fiancé (Stephen Hagan) at her side, Garland battles with a tornado of drugs and alcohol as she undertakes an exhausting series of concerts at the Talk of the Town to try and reclaim her crown as the greatest talent of her generation.

Bennet is quite simply dazzling as she captures the mannerisms and stylings of iconic Garland. More than this however, she manages to present the very essence of this damanged woman - her struggles with her mother, her broken marriages and the pressure of a life lived in the spotlight. Hagan, as Garland's fiancé does well not to be sidelined and his switches between lovingly tender and impatiently cold are adept. Hilton McRae, the British pianist is both comic and strangely tragic and his final scene with Bennett is one of the most touching of the piece.

Following what must be enormously tiring performances, especially after a matinee, all the cast, including Robin Browne (who plays a porter, radio presenter and stage manager - each wonderfully quirky), joined us for a drink in the bar. They were all happy to sign autographs and chatted easily about this production, their part in it and news of its recent extension, the show now booking until 15 April 2011.

Please do feel free to email your comments and thoughts about the play, as well as any photos you have of the event and the evening through to feedback@whatsonstage.com, we love to hear from you.

Thanks for joining us for this event, and do check the homepage to keep up to date on all of our upcoming Outings.