Titanic the Musical UK Tour: Churchill Theatre, Bromley.
Reviewed 16th July 2018
After over 105 years later the story of RMS Titanic, the ship who sank on her maiden voyage killing 1517 men, women and children, is still haunting and stirring. Based on the real people aboard the ‘unsinkable ship’ Titanic the Musical focuses on the hopes, dreams and aspirations of the passengers. With music and lyrics by Maury Yeston and a book by Peter Stone, this award-winning musical is currently touring the UK after a sell-out London production at the Charing Cross Theatre in 2016.
This beautiful and poignant production tells the real story of the Titanic. It highlights the class differences and draws upon this throughout the musical. Without being too in your face, it focuses on the complexities of class and the class divide – which is unfortunately still prevalent today albeit in a different way.
This moving show builds to a climax slowly,llowing the audience to build empathy for the characters. From the outset the audience are introduced to a variety of characters from all of the different parts of the ship and their lives. All of the audience are well aware of the doomed fate of the Titanic, but this show delves deeper and tells the story of the people onboard whilst remaining true to the real life stories of the people involved. The finale memorial to the lost souls towards the end of the show is sombre yet fitting, the fact that this show relies so heavily upon facts and figures is brilliant.
The dramatic production is made up of a fantastic cast. The characterisation throughout is incredible. There are a multitude of characters, which can sometimes hinder a production. In this case however, it works really well. This is not a story about one person, it is about everyone from crew members to the passengers. The entire cast are brilliant in their various roles helping to show the journey from excitement at boarding the legendary ship, to the despair when it eventually meets its fate. Notably Philip Rham as Captain Edward Smith, Simon Green as J. Bruce Ismay and Matthew McKenna as Herbert Pitman/Henry Etches are outstanding in role. There truly are no weak performances from anyone in this extremely talented cast.
Titanic the Musical’s score is incredible. From rousing, emotional ensemble numbers to comic duets and solos it is lovely to hear such a rich layered score in a fairly classic style. The harmonies are lovely and the large ensemble numbers help to build anticipation and emotion, particularly through the dramatic scenes. The orchestrations that accompany the show throughout are gorgeous and the off-stage band excel. The steel structure on a split level is detailed and yet simple and works brilliantly. The simplicity of the set, designed by David Woodhead, is brought to life by the fantastic, authentic props which completely change the set and location of each scene. David Woodhead’s outstanding costumes are also exquisite and truly transport the audience back to 1912. Given the amount of quick changes in the show, the costumes are highly detailed and help to furthermore highlight the class divide. Lighting by Howard Hudson further adds to the show, particularly the use of coloured lights to represent the water, engine room and the clever use of blackouts to add tension and drama.
If you are after the 1997 Hollywood film (interestingly Titanic the Musical actually premiered 6 months prior to the films release), then you’re in the wrong place. Instead, this is an emotional, moving tale about the real people on board the HMS Titanic. A hard-hitting, stark show that is a fantastic memorial to those who lost their lives. Definitely make this show on your must-see list!
Titanic the Musical UK Tour plays at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley until 21st July – for tickets or information click here.
The tour continues until 4th August. For further dates and information about the tour click here.
Photo Credit: Scott Rylander