WORTH A LOOK? *****
WHERE? Savoy Theatre
WHEN: 11/7/15 runs until 28/11/15
Who’s giving the best performance in the West End at the moment? We’d plump for Imelda Staunton in Gypsy. monstagigz is listening to the interval chatter in the venue bar and it’s a variation on a theme: how brilliant Ms Staunton is.
This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise; Gypsy‘s been earning five-star reviews since it opened in Chichester last year and on its Savoy transfer in April, Staunton was Oscar-nominated for Vera Drake in 2006 and won an Olivier in 2013 for Sweeney Todd.
Gypsy is a musical about pushy mother Momma Rose and her attempts to make stars of her two daughters. Lara Pulver, who won a 2008 Olivier herself for Parade but is better known for Sherlock, is strong as mousey daughter Louise, urged to ‘sing out’ and lose a glove to burlesque.
Former Doctor Who Peter Davison is as solid and likeable as he was in Legally Blonde as Momma Rose’s agent and squeeze. But everything is blown out of the water by a dynamite-charged performance by Staunton who pulls off the difficult trick of convincing as a woman both incredibly driven (memorably eating dog food in an austerity act one) and blinded by an absolutely monstrous desire for showbusiness success during showstopper Everything’s Coming Up Rose/Rose’s Turn at almost any cost.
We’d criticise Gypsy‘s score for lacking a big hit but in Ms Staunton’s hands the show is simply the West End must-see of the moment.