Sometimes you receive a press release about a show and the excitement from the PR company just leaps off the virtual page at you. You can’t help but feel it and go along for the ride, not really knowing much about the show, but you just love the cast and the production team behind it.
Press night arrives and you think to yourself, hey here we go, and then it hits you right smack between the eyes…….?
This all American musical tells the story of three best friends growing up in Dallas at a time when image and style were more important than brains and ambition. With never seen before material and all new direction and choreography from Racky Plews, this run is the perfect way to celebrate the original play’s 40th anniversary.
Staged in Trafalgar Studio 2 it is ambitious to perform a full-blown musical in such a small space. But this perfectly formed musical lends itself to innovative direction and choreography as always provided by the hugely gifted director and choreographer Racky Plews.
Due to contractual issues Vanities has never been performed in London. The play written by Jack Heifner examines the loss of innocence, the lack of worldwide view and the changing roles of women in society. Most of all it is the story of three women’s friendship, and I’d say anyone who loves a bit of Grease or Hairspray musical style will adore this show! Forty years ago it was considered to be controversial but today with the addition of music and lyrics by David Kirshenbaum, it is a light and frothy musical or so it seems in its early acts?
Lizzy Connolly plays southern ditsy Joanne with an endearing charm. Connolly makes you laugh but when needed, demonstrated her growth into maturity and has real depth. Lauren Samuels turns from being an all American girl into a successful strong and defiant businesswoman, but not necessarily the way you would expect. A very complex character which you can really engage with especially due to the size of the performance space. Whilst Ashleigh Gray who plays Kathy seems to have her life “organised” what she can’t do with Kleenex, chicken wire and lists is not worth knowing. Dealing with underlying anxieties and obsesive issues Gray’s role is deep. The fact that you truly empathise with her, is all credit to her acting skills.
All three have sensational voices which give the fluffy early songs character and fun. The latter part of the show which loses its frothines and takes a darker turn means each role then becomes fully formed along with an exploration into their relationships.
I have to say this show has you laughing at its cheesiness and when you least expect grabs you by the throat and socks it to you and yes I’m not ashamed to say that along with the outstanding ladies, I too did shed a tear!
A frivolous and fun show which has a huge heart! Go see these three stunning performers as they journey through life and hurtle towards their forties. Share in their dreams, hopes and stories and leave the theatre feeling joyous and uplifted by this gorgeously staged show.