Home » London Theatre Reviews » Pretty Woman: The Musical at the Savoy Theatre | Review (2023)

Pretty Woman: The Musical at the Savoy Theatre | Review (2023)

Welcome to Hollywood. What’s your dream? Everyone who comes to Hollywood’s got a dream”. Recognise these lyrics? If you do, then you know where I was last night. If you don’t, get yourself down to the Savoy Theatre for the ultimate rom-com musical of a person with a dream, Pretty Woman.

PRETTY WOMAN THE MUSICAL. West End Production. Photo by Marc Brenner.
PRETTY WOMAN THE MUSICAL. West End Production. Photo by Marc Brenner.

Hollywood in 1989 and two people have very different lives. At the top end, millionaire businessman Edward Lewis (Danny Mac) is working with his lawyer Philip Stuckey (John Addison) on his biggest deal ever, buying and breaking up the shipbuilding company of James Morse (Mark Holden). At the other end of the scale, streetwalker Vivian Ward (Aimie Atkinson) is sharing a rundown apartment with her friend and co-worker Kit de Luca (Courtney Bowman) and struggling to make ends meet. Edward and Vivian’s worlds are vastly separate and, under normal circumstances, they would never come into each other’s orbits, and yet, this is Hollywood a place where, as Happy Man (Andy Barke) anything can happen.

I first saw this show – based on the movie of the same name, with music and lyrics by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance, and a book by Garry Marshall (movie director) and J. F. Lawton (movie writer) – last July before its transfer to the Savoy Theatre and at the time really liked it. Seeing it again in its current home, my feelings about Pretty Woman haven’t changed. If anything, I enjoyed it more than the first time. The story is a very classic old-school Hollywood romance. A rich man saves a poor woman from a bad life and takes her off on his white charger towards a golden sunset and fade out. But the show is more than that. The opening number ‘Welcome to Hollywood’ sets the tone for the show and draws the audience into the production and really delivers. Director/Choreographer Jerry Mitchell has a talented cast, some great songs and David Rockwell’s set – including the bench which plays a much more major role than you would expect in the second act – to play with and makes great use of all the elements to bring Edward and Vivian’s story to life.

Danny Mac and Aimie Atkinson are both very comfortable in their roles and really breathe life into Edward and Vivian respectively. Although it took me a while to really settle down with them, I was certainly feeling the chemistry by the second act and, at the end, you could really see why the two characters end up the way they do. On the whole, the show follows the original movie pretty well, but one way it differs is the way the roles of Mr Thompson and Kit de Luca have expanded. Andy Barke and Courtney Bowman are both superb as Thompson and Kit, with wonderful stage presence, excellent dancing and voices that hit the spot for both characters with real style.

Whilst the overall show is pretty good and I loved watching it, my favourite scene is still the night at the opera, which is also my favourite in the movie. The scene itself is superbly staged and there is a lovely merging of the performance of La Traviata (one of my favourite operas) with Vivian’s own story that sent a real tingle through my spine.

There were some that had qualms over elements of the original story, and while they are understandable, Pretty Woman is a child of its time and should not necessarily be viewed through 21st-century eyes. There are a couple of changes that have updated the story in a subtle way – for instance, the scene where Stuckey and Vivian are alone in the hotel room – and these work, making Vivian and Kit more formed and less victims of their circumstances.

All told, both my companion Sam and I had a wonderful time with Pretty Woman. There were some issues with sound quality, particularly in the large ensemble numbers, and the lighting – especially the follow spots – was not as slick as I would have expected but, the story has aged well. Sometimes you just need the tonic of an uplifting tale of someone living their life and achieving their dream to restore your faith in humanity, and Pretty Woman really delivers it.

4 stars

Review by Terry Eastham

It’s time to head back to Beverly Hills and experience one of Hollywood’s most beloved romantic stories of all time live on stage at it’s glamorous new home – the Savoy Theatre. Get ready to fall in love as the record-breaking box office smash-hit musical returns.

Pretty Woman the Musical
Savoy Theatre

Related News & Reviews Past & Present

  1. Review of Pretty Woman: The Musical at The Piccadilly Theatre
  2. Full Casting Announced for Pretty Woman the Musical – Savoy Theatre
  3. Pretty Woman: The Musical celebrates back in the West End for one year
  4. Pretty Woman The Musical at New Wimbledon Theatre
  5. Oliver Tomsett to star in Pretty Woman: the Musical

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