FROM HERE TO ETERNITY booking to 26 April
Date seen: 23 October 2013

Based on the novel by James Jones
Lyrics by Tim Rice, Music by Stuart Brayson, Book by Bill Gibbs

Shaftesbury Theatre, 210 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8DP booking to 26 April 2013
Mon – Sat 7.30pm Mat Wed Sat 2.30pm
Runs 2 hr 50mins One interval

TICKETS: 0207 379 5399
Review: William Russell 23 October

For Adults Only.
This attempt to turn James Jones’ sprawling novel about life on a Honolulu army base in the months before Pearl Harbour into a musical has merit, but the book, by Bill Oakes, needs a lot of trimming. Stuart Brayson’s score has the right Forties big band sound and he has come up with rousing choruses for the grunts and the girls from the local brothel, although his love ballads are pretty routine. Tim Rice’s lyrics are as one would expect – professional.

Although director Tamara Harvey seems to have suffered a rush of blood to the head throughout, so frenetic are the goings on, at least it is a show for grown ups not another kiddie fest which mums and dads can tolerate. Not one for all the family then.

There are killings, adultery, sadism, nudity, urinating on stage, homosexual kissing, and a man blowing his head off with his rifle for all to see. None of which is particularly new on stage today, perhaps, just that there are lashings of it.

The musical is based on the book, not the 1953 film which excised a lot, including what the grunts got up to with the local gays as a means of earning a few extra dollars. Including everything may be faithful to Jones, but the gay subplot is irrelevant to the central stories of the bored officer’s wife, who has an affair with an enlisted man, and the young private, a boxer who has foresworn boxing having blinded a friend in a fight, and comes up against the need for his platoon to win the regimental boxing championship. It could well be ditched.

The grunts and tarts are terrific – loads of testosterone and the blowsiest birds imaginable – and choreographer Javier De Frutos has given them some athletically testing routines in the barrack room and the brothel to perform. As for the leads, Darius Campbell, a lanky drink of water, sings strongly as the sergeant having a fling with the officer’s wife – Rebecca Thornhill in fine voice bringing Act One to a close by taking her clothes off – and Robert Lonsdale is good as Private Prewitt, the reluctant pugilist who falls for a tart with a heart nicely played by Siubhan Harrison. In the end the Japanese planes arrive – the back projections, like the set, are dismal – and the two women head for home.

A contemporary South Pacific it is not, but with some script doctoring it could just prove a winner. South Pacific dealt with serious themes and one can take the whole family, something the creators might ponder, but at least a new composer of promise has come to the world of musicals. Aunt Edna, however, would not be amused.

Private Angelo Maggio: Ryan Samson
Lorene: Siubhan Harrison
Karen Holmes: Rebecca Thornhill
Private Robert E Lee Prewitt; Robert Thornhill
First Sergeant Milt Warden: Darius Campbell
Sergeant Ike Galovitch: David Stoller
Captain Dana Holmes: Martin Marquez
Private Clark: Marc Antolin
Private Anderson: Warren Sollars
Private Isaac Bloom: Joshua Lacey
Hal/Private: Stephen Webb
Tommy/Private: John Brannoch
Drag Queen/Private: Shimi Goodman
Police Lieutenant/Private: Viftach Mizrahi
Private: Dean John-Wilson
Private: James Ballanger
Private: Nuno Queimado
Private: Adam Vaughan
Mrs Kipfer: Julie Armstrong
Sandra, New Congress Club Trio: Lucinda Shaw
New Congress Club Trio: Christine Allado
New Congress Club Trio: Keisha Amponsa Branson
Billy, New Congress Club Girl: Laura Tyrer
Maureen, New Congress Club Girl: Rebecca Sutherland
New Congress Club Girl: Abigail Climer
New Congress Club Girl: Kirby Hughes
New Congress Club Girl: Carolyn Maitland
New Congress Club Girl: Lauren Varnham
Sergeant Fatso Judson: Brian Doherty
Swing: Dale Evans
Swing: Matthew Wesley
Swing: Jessica Ellen
Swing; Lauren Ingram

Director: Tamara Harvey
Set and Costume designer: Soutra Gilmour
Choreographer: Javier De Frutos
Lighting Designer: Bruno Poet
Sound Designer: Mick Potter
Projection Designer: Jon Driscoll

Orchestrator and Music Supervisor: David White
Fight Director: Kate Waters
Conductor: David White

2013-11-04 20:09:38

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