REVIEW: Sunset Boulevard @ The Palace Theatre, Manchester

38496_fullSunset Boulevard is one if the classic film drams of the twentieth century and the return to stage of Lloyd Webber’s musical adaptation could not be more timely. 

The story of a fading film star of the silent era thrown onto the scrapheap by the emergence of the talkies – attempting to make a combat and cling on to her youth through an affair with a young writer, is remarkably prescient.

There is no casting couch in this story, but the message is clear that long before the Weinsteinns of this world polluted the movie industry, one only needed to gently scratch away the glitter of Tinseltown to find something deadly dark underneath, where every barman, waitress and young wannabe would do anything to get their big break in pictures.

Brought to life with incredible staging, the show faithfully recreates the movie magic made famous by Gloria Swanson and Joseph Cotton; and the Phantomesque theatrics and dark music, courtesy of Mr Webber are extremely effective.

Danny Mac also delivered as the struggling writer held in the thrall of ageing star and  Adam Pearce is superb as the devoted butler, Max von Meyerling, with a pitch-perfect performance.

But central to the show was the stunning  Ria Jones as the desperate and maniacal Norma Desmond. The standing ovation was entirely deserved and the close to tearful curtain call indicated the emotional investment in the role.

Runs till Saturday October 28

 

 

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