David Yazbek and Jeffrey Lane have adapted Pedro Almodavar’s award-winning 1988 film into a musical. Staring the Olivier Award-winning actress Tamsin Greig, the musical is set in the late 1980s and follows Pepa (Grieg) as her messy love life unravels her world. Hilarity and scandal ensue as Pepa’s lover leaves her and she learns that he had an ex-wife, child and fiancée. To complicate things further, Pepa’s best friend is dating a suspected criminal. With Grieg, a woman known for impeccable comic timing leading the cast, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown is sure to be side-splitting affair.
The show will be Grieg’s musical debut and tonight the press were given a taste of what to expect. As the musical’s Tony Award-winning director Bartlett Sher notes in the show’s trailers: “Without great music [a musical] makes no sense.” Well, this show makes sense. The sexy and vibrant life-force of Almodavar’s Madrid is perfectly captured in the music that was previewed tonight. As David Yazbek (composer) explained the musical is “wedded to the groove and heartbeat of Spanish and Spanish-speaking countries’ music.”
Joining Tamsin Greig were cast members Haydn Gwynne (The Audience, Billy Elliot) and Ricardo Afonso, all three of whom – along with a surprise performance from David Yazbek himself – performed tonight. From It’s You, a lilting Spanish love ballad, performed by Gwynne and Yazbek, to songs on the feistier side such as the show’s opener Madrid sung by Afonso and the hilarious Lovesick sung by Grieg, audiences can expect to be swept away by a truly tremendous group of singers and musicians.
So with direction from Sher, a script that Greig described as a “diamond” and the key members of the cast performing as they did tonight, Women on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown is set to be a hit.
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown is on at Playhouse Theatre with previews from 16th December 2014 and opening on 12th January 2015, for further information or to book visit here.