Victor/Victoria at Southwark Playhouse
Once you’ve finished watching Victor/Victoria in London’s minute and intimate Southwark Playhouse, it is difficult to imagine the musical being shown in any other venue. Quaint, small and intimate, the venue is essentially a large room, stripped of the assets that we would associate with a typical theatre. For most musicals, this would almost certainly be a hindrance. For Victor/Victoria, however, it works perfectly.
Directed by Thom Southerland, this latest adaption of Blake Edwards’s whimsical musical is about as frantic as a hyper kinetic pinball machine. Complete with wonderfully choreographed song and dance numbers, Southerland’s production of the musical is charming and uproarious, with every actor performing with comedic delight and remarkable ability.
Taking place around the 1930s, Victor/Victoria returns to the decadent days of the light entertainment industry, where cabaret and drag queens are in popular demand. Attracted to the glamour and promise of the showbiz industry is the titular Victoria, an out-of-work soprano who finds herself circling the poverty line. Along with Victoria is the gay and outlandish “Toddy”, an entrepreneur of the showbiz industry who constructs a seemingly perfect plan that will guarantee success and fortune. His plan? To disguise Victoria as Victor and transform her into the greatest female impersonator of showbiz history.
What ensues is a cascade of entertainment that quite simply never lets up. The performances are made even more enthralling and captivating by the close audience proximity to where the action is. Perhaps this is the reason as to why the production works as well as it does. Rather than coming across as tired and outdated, what we are presented with is a fun and mesmeric production that allows the audience to feel as if they are part of it. It is even more staggering when the actors change the sets right before your eyes. You will be hard pressed to see an acting team work as hard as those for Victor/ Victoria. For this reason alone, their efforts deserve great applause.
Victor/Victoria is a warm-hearted, occasionally hilarious and gentle musical that deserves to be seen by lovers of all types of theatre. It will guarantee to bring a smile to the most hardened of musical cynics, and for those unacquainted with musicals, Victor/Victoria is a near perfect place to start.
For more information on Victor/Victoria and to book tickets, click here.