Glenn Close reprises her Tong Award-winning role as Norma Desmond in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical Sunset Boulevard at the London Coliseum. This was something of a treat as I was only a teenager when I was introduced to one of the lesser-known musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber. The semi-staged performance was a contrast to the opulent surrounding of the London Coliseum.
The 48-strong onstage orchestra was beautifully conducted by Michael Reed whose splendiferous sound feels like warm chocolate melting slowly and satisfactorily down the throat.
Close has already played Norma in Los Angeles and New York and yet her vocal talents are not as sharp as they have been her emotional control of the role, delivering simple lines which were magnificently manipulated “I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.”
Cast includes the well-defined Michael Xavier as Joe Gillis, a struggling journalist. He opens Act II in an eye-opening and unexpected outfit. Swedish Fred Johanson as Max Von Mayerling reprises his role from the Gothenburg Opera. His voice warms the soul and his physical performance is accurate and perfectly understated. Lichfield town’s very own Siobhan Dillon is Betty Shaefer, a tenacious writer and love interest. Dillon, however, adds warmth and vibrancy to one of the weaker roles, especially in terms of choice of songs.
The main pleasure of Director Lonny Price’s most recent production lies in watching Close master a role which has often been made monstrous. To quote Joe Gillis “There’s nothing tragic about being fifty. Not unless you’re trying to be twenty”.
Glenn Close’s iconic costumes by English Costume Designer Anthony Powell who had also designed Glenn Close’s costumes when she played Cruella Deville in Disney’s 101 Dalmatians and 102 Dalmatians
With a strict run of 43 performances it’s worth grabbing while you can and experience history being made.
29 Evening Performances Remaining to date
10 Matinee Performances Remaining to date
Sunset Boulevard Running Time: 2hrs 20mins
Tickets available from £12, with at least 400 tickets at every performance at £25 or under.
Performances continue through to May 7. Box Office: 020 7845 9300 or book online eno.org
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