I went to see this show with extremely high hopes as the reviews were good and with Tim Rice's lyrics, I thought it would blow me away, but it didn't. Yes, the lyrics were great, but there are no memorable tunes (think Billy Elliot, Wicked, Les Mis etc.) and I certainly can't bring any to mind now. I shan't be dashing out to buy the soundtrack! We were almost at the back of the large dress circle and I occasionally struggled to understand some of the words. The staging, however, was stunning, the cast huge and very highly talented, the sets simple but great and story superb. I gather it's much closer to the book than the film (which I've not seen, so I had no benchmark) and holds nothing back. Some of the scenes are very graphic and I believe there's an age warning attached (not suitable for children under 14). I would certainly recommend this show but it's not on my 'definitely see again and again and again' list! Enjoy!
Shaftesbury Theatre 0843 886 1436
I saw a preview of From Here To Eternity in October 2013 and I was blown away by how good this musical is. It's the story of two doomed love affairs set against the backdrop of the US army in Hawaii before and during the Pearl Harbour attack, but it's important to note that the musical is based on the book by James Jones and not the 1950's film. This musical includes all the gritty realism of 1940's army life that the film wasn't allowed to include. The music and songs are instantly memorable and I found them still in my head days later. The cast are wonderful and portray the story so well, especially the four leads of Robert Lonsdale (Prewitt), Darius Campbell (Warden), Rebecca Thornhill (Karen), and Siubhan Harrison (Lorene). The Pearl Harbour attack scene is simply stunning, the best theatre I have seen for a very long time. It left a lot of the audience with tears in their eyes (including me) as it was so moving. This is a powerful and emotional story that I loved and want to see again soon.
REALLY wanted this one to hit. But it sadly never gets off the ground. Was so bored I left at the interval so my comments apply only to the first act. Characterisations were stilted and contrived. To say the music was bland would be an understatement (I've heard better music on elevators). Now possibly the second act was wonderful? I'll never know personally. But the twelve songs in the first act were not worthy of a major West End theatre. This show is possibly between redemption. (Note -- I AM Terry Johnson but from USA -- not UK.)