It Happened in Key West, Charing Cross London, 2**: William Russell



Book, music & lyrics by Jill Santoriello.

Book & additional lyrics by Jason Huza.

Book & Original Concept by Jeremiah James.


Charing Cross Theatre, The Arches. Villiers Street. London WC26NL to 18 August 2018.

Mon-Sat 7.30pm. Mat Wed & Sat 2.30pm.

Runs 2 hr 20 mins One interval.

TICKETS: 08444 930 650

Review: William Russell 10 July

And it should have stayed in Key West

This dismal musical is based on the true story of a German Count Carl von Cosel who from childhood dreamt of finding his ideal woman. In middle age some time in the 1930s he ended up in Key West where he found her in he person of a young woman, Elena Hoya, a patient at the hospital where he worked as an X ray technician. But Elena, who reciprocated his interest, had tuberculosis and in spite of his efforts to cure her with various electric shock machines of his devising she died.

Carl, distraught at losing his one true love, whom he regarded as his wife, removed her body from her tomb – she had a horror of being buried – and kept it for several years in his house until what was going on was discovered and the law took its course. There is certainly material there for a fine black comedy, one of those bad taste, no holds barred plays but this would be romantic musical with its tinkling score – Lloyd Webber on an off day with no sense of period to its melodies – is not that show.

To be fair the cast sing well, even if they do not strike one as having been born in Florida, let alone sound as if they had, and keep smiling bravely as things go from bad to worse, while Wade McCullum as the eccentric count has a fine voice and commanding stage presence. He would, if there were anything to save, have saved the show which is directed and choreographed unthrillingly by Marc Robin who appears to have been associated with it when it was work shopped last summer in Pennsylvania..

As for those two stars – they are because Alyssa Martyn sings well as Elena, there are some pleasing projected backdrops for scenery and Mr McCullum who is clearly a force to be reckoned with. But book and score never hit the right tone or note. The book is clichéd, the lyrics are dire and the score swithers between sloppy love ballads for the Count and the corpse, which keeps coming back to life, and vaguely Latin American stuff for the locals. In the world of evenings to remember in the musical theatre It Happened in Key West, getting its world premiere in London, is one to forget.

Carl: Wade McCullum.

Elena: Alyssa Martyn.

Nurse: Val Adams.

Dr Lombard: Miguel Angel.

Papa/Sheriff: Alexander Barrie.

Mam: Mary-Jean Caldwell.

Luis: Guido Garcia Lueches.

Nana: Sophia Lewis.

Celia: Hannah McIver.

Tom: Ross McLaren.

Mario: Johan Munir.

Enrique/Lungu/Judge: Nuno Queimado.

Swing: Andrea Galinucci, Siwan Henderson.

Director & Choreographer: Marc Robin.

Production Designer: James Roderick.

Costume Designer: Lisa Zinni.

Video Designer: Louise Rhoades-Brown.

Sound Designer: Andrew Johnson.

Musical Director: Andrew Hodgkins.

Orchestrator: Robert Felstein.

Production Photographs: Darren Bell.

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