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Critics check in to Grand hotel at Southwark Playhouse

Critics enjoyed Thom Southerland's 'slick, well-oiled musical machine'

Victoria Serra (Flaemmchen) and cast
(© Aviv Ron)

Giles Cole, WhatsOnStage

★★★★★

"It draws you in. The production is so fluid in its transitions and so smartly choreographed that it soon seems to be the only way to view this panoply of human life paraded before us like a ghostly dance of love and death."

"This is a cracking piece of ensemble musical theatre with excellent sound design by Andrew Johnson and a superb seven-piece orchestra. "

"A man in the front row opposite had a broad smile of wonder on his face for almost the entire, uninterrupted 105 minutes. And it knocked my memories of the 1992 West End version into the proverbial cocked hat."

Daisy Bowie-Sell, Time Out

★★★★

"The song and dance numbers are snappy and snazzy and brilliantly executed on a thrust stage, with Proud's Charleston-tinged choreography shining like the bellboy's brass buttons."

"This is a slick, well-oiled musical machine, with a big 17-strong ensemble that, courtesy of some savvy choreography from Lee Proud and magical staging touches from Southerland, doesn't cramp the cosy space. "

"Ultimately, there's just too many characters for even one story to really make an impact, and the vague attempts at politicising the piece in the end – offering a vague sense of the Nazi horrors to come – fall a little flat."

Mark Shenton, The Stage

★★★★★

"With its propulsive, all-enveloping sense of movement by choreographer Lee Proud keeping the action constantly fluid, full of changing shapes and lightning-fast shifts of mood, [this production] is in every way just as magnificent [as the original 1989 Broadway production]."

"The large cast may be just sometimes be a little bit squeezed on the narrow strip of traverse stage that bisects the audience, but the jagged flurry of lives, is caught in a bold and startling parade of intersecting dramas being played out there under the stunningly lit gaze and haze of Derek Anderson's lighting design. "

"Each of their stories is brilliantly told in a succession of alternatively stirring and yearning songs, given new shimmering life in Simon Lee's new orchestrations for a band of just seven players under musical director Michael Bradley."

Michael Billington, The Guardian

★★★★

"Too many stories are told to leave us deeply engaged, but the show flares into life during its big numbers. The opening offers a stunning, perfectly drilled introduction to the sleekly clad guests and staff"

"Scott Garnham as a bankrupt baron sings excellently; Christine Grimandi invests the old Garbo role of a fading ballerina with the right solitary grandeur"

"the show is staged with such glittering panache that you readily overlook its faults."

Jane Shilling, Daily Telegraph

★★★★

"Lee Newby's sharp-edged designs and Simon Lee's crisply adapted orchestrations for seven-piece band eloquently conjure the febrile mixture of despair and hedonism of 1920s Berlin."

"Victoria Serra as the star-struck typist, Flaemmchen, and George Rae as the dying Jewish clerk, Otto Kringelein, bring a plangent edge of pathos to an exhilarating production whose admirably controlled climax eloquently intimates the horrors that lie just around the corner."

Grand Hotel runs at the Southwark Playhouse until 6 September 2015.

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