New London Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 27th April 2016
Fresh from its run at the Sheffield Crucible, Daniel Evans' revival of Show Boat has sailed into the West End's New London Theatre. Not only is Show Boat an important part of theatrical history, but it features a beautifully timeless score that continues to charm in 2016.
Set against the backdrop of America’s Deep South, the piece introduces different characters - from performers to dock workers - on board the Cotton Blossom in 1887. By the end of the night forty years have slipped by, it's a sometimes gruelling show which delves into dark themes.
The two standout stars are Emmanuel Kojo (Joe) and Rebecca Trehearn (Julia La Verne). Kojo seems wise beyond his years, with his performance of 'Ol' Man River' being so simple yet strikingly powerful. Trehearn musters up vocal magic in the second act with her rendition of the hauntingly beautiful 'Bill'. She is captivating throughout, Trehearn is a star at the top of her game.
Elsewhere it's a joy to see both Gina Beck (Magnolia Hawks) and Chris Peluso (Gaylord Ravenal) back in the West End. Beck is able to show off her stunning vocal talents whilst Peluso makes the perfect Ravenal. The always divine Sandra Marvin (Queenie) also shines.
Although cuts have been made, there are one or two dips in the production, particularly during the first act. The big company scenes marked my favourite moments of the evening, Alistair David's choreography utilises the space superbly.
There's nothing else quite like Show Boat in the West End at the moment; it's staged with beauty and I love that rather than opting for 'names' producers have cast some of the West End's finest talent.
Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)
Show Boat runs at the New London Theatre until 7th January 2017.
Please visit www.showboatmusical.co.uk for further information and tickets.
Photo Credit: Johan Persson