Did the critics think An American in Paris was 'en pointe'?
The musical opened at the Dominion Theatre last night
Sarah Crompton, WhatsOnStage
"An American in Paris is unlike any other musical on the London stage: sumptuously beautiful and heartfelt, it has a romantic pizzazz all of its own."
"It is, as the Gershwin score assembled from his entire back catalogue might put it "S'wonderful"."
"It is the design and the direction that give An American in Paris its unique texture and tone. Bob Crowley's designs, a fleet and gorgeous mixture of stage flats and projections (courtesy of 59 Productions Ltd) do more than set the scene, they create a mood."
"Leanne Cope and Robert Fairchild created the parts of Lise and Jerry on stage, and inhabit them fully. He is ballet royalty, a principal at New York City Ballet, yet with the sly, sexy instincts of a Broadway hoofer... He sings well, too and brandishes a megawatt charm of which Gene Kelly would be proud."
"[Cope]was always a graceful dancer, now she sings and acts with a quiet confidence, creating a fully-rounded portrait of a girl on the threshold of finding true love, trying to do the right thing by everyone around her, trying to forget her suffering. She gives a glorious show its gentle heart."
Michael Billington, The Guardian
"Christopher Wheeldon, as director and choreographer, and Bob Crowley, whose sets and costumes have a touch of genius, have created a show that not only offers an eclectic range of Gershwin songs but is also a riot of colour and movement."
"The story has been radically improved, but it is the look of the show that stuns one. Crowley's designs not only seem part of the choreography but also offer a painterly kaleidoscope."
"The moment of ecstasy that all musicals need comes when Henri, who is here a stumbling amateur rather than a smooth professional, turns "I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise" into a soaring Mittyesque fantasy in an art deco Radio City Music Hall filled with ostrich-plumed chorus girls."
"With Rob Fisher supervising a score that includes a wealth of Gershwin classics, you feel as if the tarnished silver of the Vincente Minnelli movie has been turned into theatrical gold."
Ann Treneman, The Times
"It's got starlight, it's got sweet dreams and, yes, it's got rhythm too. You almost feel you couldn't ask for anything more but this Gershwin musical also has that indefinable something called grace, a lightness that would out-soufflé even Julia Child, and a joie de vivre that lifts it, and us, all night long."
"The dancing is, if not the star, then certainly the moon here, culminating in a full-blown 17-minute classical ballet. To watch Robert Fairchild, a principal at the New York City Ballet, as Jerry Mulligan is to see someone who, at times, really does seem to walk on air."
"The set and costume design by Bob Crowley are magnificent. Backlit screens shimmy and shine as sketches change before our eyes, rainy Parisian streets, so beautiful that you cannot help but fall in love with the city too."
"It's a special show, this. 'S wonderful. 'S marvellous. Truly it is."
Henry Hitchings, Evening Standard
"The adaptation, scripted by Craig Lucas, packs in more of George Gershwin's music than the film did and adds notes of darkness to its joie de vivre."
"At its heart is Jerry Mulligan, a former soldier who's now trying to make it as an artist in the French capital. Amid the city's postwar gloom he falls in with Adam, a pianist who fancies himself a composer, and rich dreamer Henri, who hopes to become a cabaret singer."
"Though Wheeldon's record as a ballet choreographer is handsome, he has little form in musical theatre, and this shows in a production that's sedately paced, with a first half that lacks momentum."
"The leads are both ballet stars, and vocally they're assured rather than thrilling. Yet Leanne Cope's Lise has a lovely intuitive lightness. As Jerry, Robert Fairchild is muscular and exciting, and there's a charming ease in his movement, a gravity-defying sprezzatura."
Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph
"Over at Drury Lane, the dancers will be thunder tap-dancing through 42nd Street; here there are pliés, pirouettes and pas de deux (Lise, a parfumier assistant in the film, is now handily training as a ballet dancer)."
"Early on, a bar-full of carousing Parisians join the pals in a riotous version of "I Got Rhythm", cheesily ploughing on despite a black-out. "Fidgety Feet" – snaffled from Gershwin's 1926 musical Oh, Kay! – allows Robert Fairchild's super-lithe Jerry to hoof it up during a boring-pretentious soiree. These songs don't exactly issue forth as if under pressure from an inexorable organic force – but you know what? Who cares?"
"What the show does to perfection (besides airing music that's steeped to its marrow with a jazz-age joie de vivre) is capture the hard-to-take-in beauty of Paris and reverie of youth. Bob Crowley's set design is a marvel a minute: fast-moving projected-on screens conjure twinkling boulevards and the flowing Seine as if they're Jerry's swooning handiwork writ large."
"As the song says: Who could ask for anything more?"
An American in Paris is currently booking at the Dominion Theatre until 30 September 2017.