Only Fools and Horses: The Musical at Theatre Royal Haymarket
From Peckham to the West End, Britain’s much-loved classic TV sitcom, Only Fools and Horses, is back – though this time as a stage musical adaptation – bringing to life John Sullivan’s magnum opus before a dazzling crowd of theatregoers at London’s Theatre Royal Haymarket. Following iconic comedy duo Del Boy (Tom Bennett) and Rodney (Ryan Hutton) as they embark upon their fun-filled adventures around the Big Smoke’s south-eastern district, the show bases its premise on Sullivan’s favourite episode, Dates, where Del meets love interest Raquel (Dianne Pilkington), whilst integrating all the symbolic gags from the original screen version into its scenes and musical numbers.
Distilled from 64 episodes into a beautiful and meticulously choreographed two-hour show, Only Fools and Horses: The Musical does not cease to amaze with its slapstick humour and exquisite set design; a revolving stage splits the narrative in two, between the Trotter’s public life at their local pub, and their personal one at the brothers’ quaint council estate residence. With outstanding performances from Bennett and Hutton, as well as co-writer Paul Whitehouse – who portrays the forlorn and discontented Grandad with noteworthy eloquence and grace – the piece feels as true as it could possibly be to Sullivan’s brainchild, yet fresh due to its respective twists and turns, which serve as an element of surprise to those well-known storylines that the nation has come to love and appreciate over the years.
Much more than just an action-packed show, Only Fools and Horses is a social commentary that is fit for purpose. Nostalgic, and with the intention of taking us back to the late 80s when the gentrification of the yuppies had begun to change the course of London’s working-class culture, the plot is a startling reminder as to how significantly life has changed over the last 30 years – as Trigger (Peter Baker) so rightly points out when looking into his Granny’s crystal ball and being able to catch a glimpse into the future. An uplifting and engaging tale that theatergoers will come to enjoy, this production will surely capture the hearts of its audience and remind us all that, despite life’s difficulties, while there is love, family and loyalty, there is a way. C’est magnifique, Hooky Street. Magnifique.
Photo: Johan Persson
Only Fools and Horses: The Musical is at Theatre Royal Haymarket from 9th February until 31st August 2019. Book your tickets here.