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Evelyn Hoskins showcases her incredible vocals in Carrie

CARRIE - THE MUSICAL.
Kim Criswell as Margaret and Evelyn Hoskins as Carrie in CARRIE – THE MUSICAL. Photo Credit Claire Bilyard

After having the pleasure of watching segments of this production nearing the end of the rehearsal period, I was looking forward to seeing it in its completed form. Carrie: The Musical has been noted as one of the biggest ‘flops’ in musical theatre history and yet this productions feels nothing like that word. It fits perfectly into the Southwark Playhouse and the script has been updated, along with the whole production, to suit today. It partially works.

The cast is led strongly by Evelyn Hoskins in the title role. Hoskins showcases her incredible vocals throughout and creates a character to which your attention is always focused on. Her display of fear and naivety at the beginning is just as captivating as her anger and vengefulness near the end. She is the perfect Carrie.

Kim Criswell is equally captivating as Carrie’s crazed Christian mother, Margaret White. The strongest and most moving scenes are those with just Hoskins and Criswell. White carries a sense of likability about her despite her disturbed actions towards her child. Criswell manages to display a well-rounded, understandable and human character to one that could be seen as merely villainous. Her number ‘When There’s No One’ in the second act teared me up and was a strong highlight, as well as Hoskins’ character-named solo at the beginning.

Other notable mentions are Jodie Jacobs and Sarah McNicholas who both give excellent performances. The rest of the cast show fantastic energy. They support each other and are able to elevate the music and lyrics with their great vocals and harmonies. The choreography, especially in the beginning numbers, seems slightly too ‘teenage-angst’-led and a bit too contemporary for this darker musical.

The sound for the show seems slightly uneven. The few moments of suggested ‘horror’ in the show are presented in loud, sometimes over-bearing audio. The only time this completely pulls it off is the graduation dance scene near the end. Similarly the whole show, at times, could afford to take the volume down ever so slightly.

When discussing at the rehearsal Q&A a few weeks back, there was the question of what makes this version different to the original. What have they changed to rid themselves of the fate of the original? There were many different answers but the main one was the script. It was discussed that the original book led to a lot of unwanted humour from the audience. This version doesn’t completely iron that out but is still able to highlight the serious, dark tones of the show much more successfully than its predecessor.

The songs are not completely memorable but are enjoyable through the skills of the talented cast. The direction is great and frighteningly immersive which serves the show well. We were also promised an ambitious set at the rehearsal and we definitely got it. The tricks such as flying, moving props and the famous pigs-blood scene are done fantastically. Carrie may never end up being the massive success it always wanted to be, but this production proves it to be something worth your attention. Don’t let this show pass you by. There’s not really another one like it.

4 stars

Review by Tomm Ingram

Pray for your Salvation…
Carrie is back like you’ve never seen her before.
Twenty-seven years after first wreaking havoc, the world’s most talked about Broadway musical is coming to London. Academy Award winning Dean Pitchford and Michael Gore (Fame), and original screenplay writer Lawrence D. Cohen, have transformed Stephen King’s unlikely Cinderella story into an infectiously modern musical that has gripped audiences from Australia to America with its timeless story and thrilling score.

Creative Team
Director & Choreographer Gary Lloyd, Designer Tim McQuillen-Wright, Musical Director Mark Crossland, Lighting Designer Tim Oliver, Sound Design Dan Samson, Music Programming Gary Hickeson, Special Effects Jeremy Chernick, Producer Paul Taylor-Mills, Casting Director Will Burton CDG, Composer Michael Gore, Lyrics Dean Pitchford, Book Lawrence D. Cohen, Publicity, design and marketing Dewynters, Social & Digital The Umbrella Rooms.

Cast
Kim Criswell, Olly Dobson, David Habbin, Evelyn Hoskins, Jodie Jacobs, Dex Lee, Bobbie Little, Emily McGougan, Molly McGuire, Sarah McNicholas, Greg Miller-Burns, Eddie Myles, Patrick Sullivan and Gabriella Williams

Listing
FRIDAY 1 – SATURDAY 30 MAY 2015
SOUTHWARK PLAYHOUSE, The Large
77-85 Newington Causeway, London SE1 6BD
Performances: Monday – Saturday 7.30pm, Thursday 2.30pm (except 7 May), Saturdays 3.00pm
Tickets: £18-22 (£12 previews)
Box Office 020 7407 0234
http://www.southwarkplayhouse.co.uk

Friday 8th May 2015

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