Dear World at Charing Cross Theatre
A musical version of Jean Giraudoux’s The Mad Woman of Chaillot, Dear World gets its first British production 44 years after it flopped on Broadway in 1969. After the two-hour show, the first thing that comes to mind is whether it was worth resurrecting the boat that sank years ago.
Billed as a post-war Paris fable, the musical tells the story of Countess Aurelia, an eccentric who lost her lover many years ago and deplores the brutality of the modern world. When the presidents of an important corporation try to destroy her Parisian bistro to drill for oil beneath it, she and her friends concoct a plot to stop them.
Clichés are omnipresent, while storyline and cohesion are nowhere to be seen. It’s upsetting because today more than ever this fight against capitalist greed would have been more than welcome. Happily for the audience, there is redemption in Betty Buckley’s performance. One of the most legendary leading ladies of Broadway, she carries the show with both strength and fragility, especially during her moving number And I Was Beautiful. She is supported by a superb cast, especially Stuart Matthew Price as sensitive Julian, Rebecca Lock as the delightful and disturbed Gabrielle, and Peter Land as a rather comical capitalist.
Despite some huge flaws in the play, director Gillian Lynne has succeeded in bringing some great aspects to the stage. A poetic set, beautiful costumes and a live orchestra complement tremendous actors and singers, who, once again, we are thankful to for saving, if not our Dear World, at least the night.
Dear World is at the Charing Cross Theatre until 30th March 2013. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.