Monday, 9 February 2015

Review: The Goodbye Girl at Upstairs at the Gatehouse



The Goodbye Girl 
Upstairs at the Gatehouse
Reviewed on Friday 6th February 2015
★★★

Based on the 1977 movie, Marvin Hamlisch, David Zippel and Neil Simon's musical adaptation of The Goodbye Girl first opened on Broadway in 1993 starring Bernadette Peters and Martin Short.

The show centres around an unemployed dancer and single mother Paula (played by Rebecca Bainbridge)  who, following a mix up, finds herself having to share an apartment with Elliot (played by Paul Keating), a struggling stage actor. 

Both Keating and Bainbridge behold the charm of golden Broadway stars. Their chemistry is feisty; it is a joy to see their characters constantly trying to get one up on the other. The supporting cast and ensemble commit to each number and have fun with the comedy. The group numbers are all strong; however, solo vocals sounded slightly strained on one or two occasions.

I adore Marvin Hamlisch, many people have no idea just how extraordinary his career was - he didn't just write A Chorus Line (which is referenced in the piece). Tucked away within The Goodbye Girl's score are some absolute gems. Certain songs are beautifully expressive and reflective; Hamlisch often writes so simply but there is delicacy and honesty behind each note. 

Upstairs at the Gatehouse is fast becoming one of my favourite London fringe venues; the larger performance space is remarkably diverse and I love its atmosphere. Adam Lenson's production is nicely staged, although one or two moments do feel a little clumsy. Claira Vaughan's choreography works well; numbers aren't squashed, instead the space is used well. There were a couple of technical glitches, but the cast proceeded to give their all. 

The Goodbye Girl is a harmless musical. Parts may be a little forgettable, but Lenson's production provides a few hours of light hearted, joyous escapism.

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

The Goodbye Girl runs at Upstairs at the Gatehouse until Saturday 28th February 2015.
Please visit www.upstairsatthegatehouse.com for further information and tickets.

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